Wednesday, October 21, 2015


By Kenneth Roberts
Freelance Writer

In one of the most dramatic football games in many years, the Rio
Grande City Rattlers staged an epic comeback to defeat the Valley View
Tigers 24-18 in a four-overtime District 31-5A thriller at Joe R. Sanchez
Stadium Saturday night.

The Rattlers trailed 15-7 in the fourth quarter, but executed a 50-yard
scoring drive that culminated when quarterback Jason Perez threw a
four-yard scoring pass to Bobby Reyes with 17 seconds remaining in
regulation. Perez then ran for the two-point conversion that tied the
score at 15-15 and forced overtime.

After two scoreless overtime periods, the two teams traded field goals in
the third overtime and Perez ran four yards for a touchdown to give the
Rattlers a 24-18 lead in the fourth overtime. On a fourth and long play,
the marathon game finally ended when a Tiger receiver could not haul in
a pass in the end zone.

In the first overtime, the Tiger kicker was wide on a 33-yard field goal
attempt and the Rattlers seemed poised to grasp victory. The Valley View
defense, however, forced a Rattler fumble inside the 5, forcing a second
overtime. A third overtime became necessary when the Tigers missed a
36-yard field goal try that would have won the second overtime. Rattler
kicker Joel Duarte booted a 36-yard field goal to make a fourth overtime

Most of the first half was basically uneventful, with the Tigers kicking a
field goal in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead. In the second quarter,
Valley View quarterback Richie Sanchez completed two 13-yard passes
to advance the Tigers to the Rio 2. Running back Joseph Alvarez then
scampered two yards for a touchdown with 6:20 left until halftime to
boost the Tigers to a margin that remained 9-0 when the extra point kick

The Tigers drove to the Rattler 22 later in the second quarter, but the
drive fizzled due to a chop block penalty. On fourth and 17, Marcos

Campos caught a pass for a 12-yard completion to the 26, five yards shy
of a first down. The two teams then went into intermission with the
Tigers still holding a 9-0 edge.

Midway through the third quarter, the Rattlers executed a 56-yard
scoring drive that started when Perez ripped off a 10-yard run to the
Tiger 46. On fourth and one, Casimiro Olivarez pounded out a two-yard
gain to give the Rattlers a first down at the 35.

Two plays later, Iram Galvan caught a pass near the right sideline just
short of the 25, evaded a defender, and raced down the sideline into the
end zone for a 33-yard scoring pass with 5:35 left in the third period.
Joel Duarte then kicked the extra point to draw the Rattlers to within 9-

The Tigers expanded their lead when Diego Monjaras caught a punt
inside the 25, raced toward the right sideline, cut back to his left, and
bolted down the left sideline for a 76-yard touchdown return with 9:46
left in the game. The score remained 15-7 when a two-point conversion
try failed.

Late in the fourth quarter, a Tiger punt rolled dead at the Rio 35 and an
illegal block penalty against Valley View advanced the ball to midfield.
On second down, Perez sprinted down the left sideline for a 13-yard gain
to the Tiger 36. On a fourth and three play, Casimiro Olivarez slammed
through left guard for a six-yard gain to the 23 and a crucial first down.
Perez connected with Aaron Leal for an 11-yard completion to the 14,
and found receiver, Jesus Oviedo, for a 10-yard completion to the 4. On
first and goal, Perez connected with Bobby Reyes in the right flat for a
four-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds remaining in regulation.
Perez then rolled to his right and looked to pass, but took off running
and lunged across the goal line for the two-point conversion that tied the
game at 15-15.

In the final seconds, a pass interference penalty against the Rattlers
advanced the Tigers into Rio territory. On the final play, the Tigers lined
up to try a 57-yard field goal, but a delay of game penalty moved them
back five yards. Regulation play ended when quarterback Richie
Sanchez tried a sprintout around left end, but was stopped at the Rio 32.

After being stopped just short of a first down on the first possession of
overtime, the Tigers misfired on a 33-yard field goal attempt. Victory
seemed a certainty for the Rattlers as Aaron Leal and Olivarez each
scampered for nine-yard gains to advance the ball to the 4. Two plays
later, however, the Tiger defense forced and recovered a fumble at the 5,
triggering a second overtime.

In the first possession of the second overtime, the Rattler offense was
stopped outside the 35.  After three Tiger plays gained six yards, a 36-
yard field goal attempt was wide to the left, forcing a third overtime.
On the initial possession of the third overtime, Sanchez completed a 22-
yard pass to advance the Tigers to the 3. On third and goal at the 1, the
Rattlers stopped a running play for no gain and a personal foul penalty
against the Tigers moved the ball back to the 16. The Tiger kicker then
booted a 33-yard field goal to give the Tigers an 18-15 advantage.

The Rattlers gained six yards on three plays, and Joel Duarte then drilled
a 36-yard field goal to tie the game at 18-18 and force a fourth overtime.
On the first possession of overtime four, Perez connected with a receiver
near the right sideline for an eight-yard completion to the 16. An offside
penalty against the Tigers on fourth down gave the Rattlers a first down
at the 11. Olivarez then bolted through the left side for a nine-yard gain
inside the 2. Three plays later, Perez kept the ball through right guard
and lunged across the goal line for a four-yard scoring run. The Rattlers’
lead remained 24-18 when a two-point conversion attempt was

On third and 10, Sanchez threw a swing pass to the left, but the Tiger
receiver was tackled at the 24 for only a one-yard completion. On fourth
and nine, Sanchez rolled to his right and was heavily rushed, but threw a
pass into the right corner of the end zone that a receiver could not bring
in, ending the game and enabling the Rattlers to walk off the field as 24-
18 victors.

No individual or team statistics for either the Rattlers or Tigers were
available. Jason Perez threw touchdown passes to Iram Galvan and
Bobby Reyes, and also ran for the touchdown in the fourth overtime that
ultimately won the game, as well as the two-point conversion that forced

The Rattlers, now 1-2 in district play and 3-4 for the season, kept their
playoff hopes alive with the dramatic victory. They will enjoy an open
week before facing the potent Edinburg Vela Sabercats on the road on
Thursday night, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. As last week’s action concluded, the
Sabercats were undefeated for the entire season and ranked by virtually
all pundits as one of the top teams in the entire Valley.

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