Down to the defense

Rangers to face Rattlers on a foreign field.

Jalen+Nutt+charges+onto+the+field+before+a+loss+against+Steele.+Nutt+and+the+Rangers+hope+to+bounce+back+this+week+at+San+Marcos.
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Down to the defense

Jalen Nutt charges onto the field before a loss against Steele. Nutt and the Rangers hope to bounce back this week at San Marcos.

Jalen Nutt charges onto the field before a loss against Steele. Nutt and the Rangers hope to bounce back this week at San Marcos.

Danielle Esperiqueta

Jalen Nutt charges onto the field before a loss against Steele. Nutt and the Rangers hope to bounce back this week at San Marcos.

Danielle Esperiqueta

Danielle Esperiqueta

Jalen Nutt charges onto the field before a loss against Steele. Nutt and the Rangers hope to bounce back this week at San Marcos.

Emma Siebold, Staff Writer

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The Smithson Valley varsity football team enters enemy territory this Friday against the San Marcos Rattlers. The opponents’s record of 0-5 implies a painless victory, though looks can be deceiving.

Rattler quarterback Alex Garcia is ranked in the top five in passing yards in the greater San Antonio area, an ominous statistic for Friday’s game. Garcia has a season statline of 107 completions, 1,488 yards, 10 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.

Even with a strong quarterback, San Marcos’s offense falls short of Smithson Valley’s. The Rattler’s total rushing yards add up to 629, while the Rangers have two rushers (WR Greg Eggleston, 859, and RB Jacob Forton, 725) who surpass that total alone. As a whole, the Rangers surpass San Marcos with a grand total of 1,831 rushing yards.

Smithson Valley’s defense should be able to hold their own against an unbalanced Rattler offensive unit. Ranger cornerback Jalen Nutt, for one, is undisturbed by the skill of Garcia.

“We will react the same as we would for any other talented quarterback,” said Nutt. “[We will] score defensive touchdowns, get turnovers, and most importantly get our offense good field position.”

Ranger coach Larry Hill is similarly confident in the team’s game plan, and doesn’t appear threatened in the slightest. 

“We’ll need to pressure him and hopefully force some throws into coverage,” Hill said. “[It starts with] winning the turnover margin and [getting] interceptions… Meanwhile, we must make them throw underneath and deny the deep ball.”

The San Marcos offense presents numerous challenges, but coach Hill and the Rangers are prepared to shut them down.

“They have a number of receivers who have shown the capability of creating big plays. We will likely want to play coverage over blitz, relying on our front 4 to create pressure on the QB,” Hill said. “We can’t let him get comfortable in the pocket.”

In the last couple of games, the Rangers have struggled to capitalize in the red zone. These mistakes have caused the losses of the last two games. 

“It’s been a variety of things,” Hill said. “Tough defenses, [poor] ball protection, and lack of execution. Also, we will likely run more perimeter plays in an effort to avoid a crowded line of scrimmage.”

The offense may be a big concern for Smithson Valley’s special teams, who have had some missteps as well. 

“Against tough 26-6A teams where it’s difficult to shine every play, every series we must find ways to manufacture big plays, turnovers, field position. Kicking game can be a big part of that. It has been an area of heavy emphasis this week.”

The Rangers and Rattlers will face off on the first night of November, and it is predicted to be about 48-55 degrees. 

Tickets for the game will be sold at the Smithson Valley High School Fieldhouse, which is open from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Friday. Adult tickets cost $7.00 and student tickets $3.00. At San Marcos High School, adult tickets cost $8.00 and student tickets $3.00. They honor UIL District 26-6A and senior citizen passes.

So, will this post-Halloween night be a haunting game? For the Rattlers, yes. But for the Rangers, it will definitely be a treat.

PREDICTION: Rangers 38, Rattlers 14

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