MISSION – All season long Sharyland dreamed of getting some payback against Laredo United for their quick exit from the playoffs last season, and they got what they wanted.
The Rattlers crushed the Longhorns 72-30 in their Class 5A Division I bi-district playoff game to advance to the area round of the postseason against Harlingen on Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Rattler Stadium.
Last season, Laredo United defeated Sharyland 60-42 in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
“We got our payback, our redemption, and it feels good,” said Sharyland first-year head coach Ron Adame. “We’re not satisfied yet. We talk about being a team of destiny and having an eye fixed on our destination, which is the state championship, and they realize it’s going to take one step at a time to get there. We passed our first test and now it’s on to the second test against Harlingen.”
Sharyland remained perfect and improved to 11-0 with the overwhelming victory over the Longhorns (3-8) that saw the Rattlers score the most points in one game this season.
“You want to be clicking on all cylinders and we’ve certainly shown that we’re improving in all three areas and showing the ability to put up points,” said Adame. “Those 72 points weren’t just offense, everybody contributed to that outcome.”
Sharyland senior quarterback Tres Barrera completed 15-of-21 passes for 263 yards through the air and two touchdowns. Overall, the Sharyland offense produced 483 total yards and seven of the team's 10 TDs.
The defense and special teams also got in on the act and generated some offense in the form of a pair of turnovers and a punt return that resulted in TDs.
Sophomore defensive back Sean Landez returned a punt 85 yards for a TD with 6:23 left in the first quarter. Senior defensive back Francisco Campos intercepted a pass and took it 35 yards for a score 13 seconds into the second half. And senior linebacker Bradley Klein returned a fumble 85 yards for a TD with 3:28 remaining in the third quarter.
“We’ve been wanting them since last year after they knocked us out in the first round,” said Klein. “They gave us a good battle and we came out to fight. We worked hard all week in practice because we knew we wanted to come out with the victory, and we did.”
Senior Estefan Castillo opened up the scoring with a 26-yard TD run with 10:25 left in the first quarter and was followed a few minutes later by Landez’s return. By halftime, the Rattlers had staked a 43-14 lead.
Sharyland senior fullback César Valdez led the Rattlers in scoring with three of his team’s 10 TDs, two on the ground and another through the air, en route to the red-and-white’s shellacking of Laredo United.
“It feels good,” said Valdez. “We still had that bad taste in our mouth from last year. We wanted it bad and we got our redemption. All three teams stepped it up.”
The Rattlers have their sights set on their next opponent, who should put up more resistance than the Longhorns.
Harlingen defeated McAllen Memorial 41-20 in bi-district and improved to 8-3. The Cardinals opened the 2012 season with consecutive non-district losses to San Antonio Johnson and San Benito. In district play, Harlingen went 7-1 and won the 32-5A title.
“It’s a big game,” said Adame. “It’s one of those games that if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. Harlingen started out the year 0-2, but obviously they turned it around and those two losses really haven’t affected them. They seem to be clicking at the right time and we know those guys will be ready and put up a good challenge, but the Rattlers will be ready too.”
Sharyland Rattlers vs Harlingen Cardinals Area Football Play-Off Game
Friday, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. at Weslaco ISD Bob Lackey Stadium
Admission to Game:
Reserved Tickets – $8
Students Tickets – $4 There will only be 500 student tickets available for this game. Once all student tickets have been sold, students will need to purchase reserved tickets.
There will be no general admission tickets sold for this game. All tickets at the gate will be $9.
Ticket Sales Information:
Tickets will be sold in the Sharyland Athletic Office (main gym) on Friday, Nov. 23, from 7:30 to11:30 a.m.