By CONSTANCIO MARTINEZ, JR.
The 4A Port Isabel Tarpons football team is ready to kick off its regular football season Thursday night against the visiting 3A Lyford Bulldogs. The Bulldogs out of district 16-3A Division 1, finished last season with a 7-4 overall record. As the 3rd playoff seed, they faced a tough (11-3) Vanderbilt Industrial team in the Bi-district round where they lost, 34-7. In 2022, Lyford will be returning several key players as they bring back seven offensive and seven defensive starters. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine predicts Lyford to finish second in the six-team district. A player to watch on the Lyford Bulldogs team will be QB, Osmar Martinez, who the magazine picked as the district’s Preseason Offensive MVP. A dual-threat QB, Martinez is adept at running the ball. He had seven games in 2021 where he rushed over 100 yards, including a pair 200+ yard games. Given time he can also have big games with his arm. He had two breakout games where he passed for 227 and 313 yards.
As for Port Isabel, the team will be bringing back seven offensive and five defensive starters from an 8-4 team. DC Texas Football magazine picked PI’s QB, Rodolfo “Rudy” Barrera as the district Preseason Offensive MVP. This will be Barrera’s third year leading the Tarpons at the QB helm. Barrera doesn’t fill up the stat lines due to the reliance on the running back corps, but the team is looking to involve Barrera more in the run game this year. Protection for Barrera will be provided by a physical offensive line featuring three returning starters and they will be key to the Tarpons run game.
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