McALLEN — With 3:39 left in the third period Saturday night, it looked bleak for the Bobcats, as they trailed Sharyland 28-14 in the area round playoffs at Memorial Stadium. The Rattlers had just scored to take a two-touchdown lead.
But with the season on the line, senior Stevie Guerrero rallied the club to 17 straight points for a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback. With touchdown passes to Jonathan Gonzalez and Sal Martinez, the ‘Cats edged Sharyland for their 10th win of the year. Coach Joey Caceres’ team now rides a seven-game winning streak into Saturday’s third-round match in the AlamoDome versus upstart San Antonio Wagner (6-6).
The Bobcats were stymied in the first half as their running game went nowhere against the highly rated Shary defense. Had it not been for a killer 51-yard TD run from Guerrero and an amazing 104-yard kickoff return by Martinez, EHS would have been cooked. Sharyland (10-2) dominated the action in the half, allowing the ‘Cats just two first downs.
But the Edinburg started to find the mark after the break, and limited the Rattlers to just 95 from halftime on.
A capacity crowd of 12,000 was on hand to see this battle after EHS had beaten Los Fresnos in bi-district and Shary’d dropped Del Rio. The ‘Cats gained momentum after Shary scored the third-period TD, as the defense dug in and shut out the enemy from there on out.
Guerrero led the team with 109 yards including some unreal runs against heavy pressure. And he completed the scoring strikes down the stretch, benefitting from a safety on a bad punt snap that added to the sudden Bobcat fire.
“It was hard to run the ball, and they got a lot of pressure on us the first half,” said Caceres, who now advances to the third round for the first time as a head coach. “But somehow we found a way to get the Bobcat Mystique working before it was too late. Steve did a great job for us, he made the plays.”
The stands were packed with Bobcats of the past, including former linebacker Tony Alonzo, who watched younger brother Adam make a game-high 18 tackles. The older Alonzo predicted that his sibling will be way better than he was, and with a chuckle explained the magic he had just seen.
“You never leave a game early, that’s what I was taught,” he stressed. “My dad always told me, ‘you never know.’ That’s the way it was when I was eight, and it is still happening now! You just have to keep that Bobcat pride alive!”
Guerrero, who has turned it on big time in the playoffs so far, noted that though the game did not go his team’s way for a spell, the ‘Cats never quit.
“We had some problems, that’s true, we were having a hard time up front,” he said. “Sharyland’s defense did a nice job there for awhile. They were giving us hell. But we were patient and we came out ready to do it in the fourth quarter.”
As for the 32-yard pass to Gonzalez, a rope on the right roll to make it 28-21, it was Gonzalez’ only catch of the night. But his QB says that numbers can be deceiving.
“Jon is one of my go-to guys, for sure,” Guerrero insisted. “It might not seem like it sometimes, but he is, and he’s a great player. He ran a post but when I scrambled he read it and broke off the route. The thing that he did to made the play, he ran right with me.”
EHS VS. SHARYLAND
AREA PLAYOFFS at MCALLEN
EHS (10-2) 7-7-0-17 — 31
SHARY (10-2) 0-21-7-0 — 28
E: Stevie Guerrero 51 run (Jose Risa kick) 5:08
S: C.J. Cavazos 11 pass from Bobby Moran (Joey Martinez kick) 10:28
S: Ricky Mata 2 run (Martinez kick) 4:56
E: Sal Martinez 104 kickoff return (Risa kick) 4:43
S: Moran 12 run (Martinez kick) 1:58
S: Mata 3 run (Martinez kick) 3:39
E: Jon Gonzalez 32 pass from Guerrero (Martinez pass from Guerrero) 8:01
E: safety, punt snap into end zone 7:04
E: Martinez 10 pass from Guerrero (Luis Hinojosa kick) 4:51
EHS: FD 8; RUSH 134; PASS 105; TOTAL 239; TO 0
RUSHING: Guerrero 10-109; David Ramirez 1-10; Freddy Guajardo 2-7; Aaron Garza 3-3; Aaron Gonzalez 9-2; Stavern Joseph 1-3
PASSING: Guerrero 9-19-0 105
RECEIVING: J Gonzalez 1-32; Cord Arriola 2-26; Ramirez 1-16; Anthony Acosta 2-15; Martinez 2-12; A Gonzalez 1-2
TACKLES: Adam Alonzo 18; Ciro Reyna 11; Roy Ortiz 11; Teddy Lara 10; Martinez 10; Joseph 7/INT: Lara.
SHARY: FD 22; RUSH 199; PASS 83; TOTAL 282; TO 1