By CONSTANCIO MARTINEZ, JR.
Special to the PRESS
This Friday, November 10, the Tarpon fanatics will be treated to a rare playoff home game when the (8-2) Port Isabel Tarpons take on the (3-7) Robstown Cotton Pickers in a bi-district showdown. The Tarpons’ last game was two weeks ago when they beat Bishop 28-7, clinching the district title and the #1 playoff seed. Meanwhile, in last week’s game, Robstown fell to the #4 seed after their 81-43 loss to Orange Grove.
Robstown’s defense has given up an average of 37 points per game, which should bode well for Port Isabel’s “Tidal Wave” offense. The Tarpons’ offense has racked up 32 points per game so far, and although the Tarpons have aired the ball more than usual, their main attack will be their ground game. Look for the PI offense to soften Robstown’s defense by utilizing running backs Tristan Garcia and Jose “JoJo” Ochoa. The Tarpons will use their speedier change-of-pace running backs, Luis Ramos and Evan Galvan, for the more significant gains. The team has rushed over 2,200 yards with 29 touchdowns for the year.
Despite Robstown’s record, the Tarpons defense will have their hands with the Cotton Pickers’ offense. This will be senior quarterback Derek Silva’s second year leading Robstown’s spread offense. This season, he has thrown 1,900 yards on 128 completions for an impressive 14.8 yards per completion average. He also has thrown for 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions. His top two receivers are Timothy Sanchez (39 rec., 559 yards, 3 TDs) and Joe Luna (28 rec., 595 yards, 9 TDs); both have reliable hands and are exceptional at running with the ball after the catch.
The Tarpons’ secondary, led by Anthony Garcia and Robert Medina, has played exceptionally well in the last two games- having intercepted the ball five times. PI Defensive Coordinator Albert Barbarena has been devising a defensive game plan all week in preparation for Robstown. “Robstown’s offense is pretty athletic. We have to plan to shut down their two best receivers, #2 and #10”, said coach Barbarena. “We have to give their QB #3 different looks to confuse his pre-snap reads.”
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