By PETE BANDA
Special to the NEWS
RIO HONDO, TX—A disappointing end to the regular season for the Rio Hondo Bobcats dashed any hopes of sharing a district championship for the second consecutive season, but a hot start to the season propelled the ’Cats back into the playoffs. Despite the season ending with back-to-back losses, Rio Hondo finished the season with an overall record of 6-4, including a 3-2 district mark that was good enough for a third place finish.
While the Bobcats ended the season with a 27-14 loss to district rival Lyford, there was plenty of reason to be optimistic with several strong showings from key players. Junior quarterback Ruben Atkinson finished the game with 167 total yards and two touchdowns, bringing his season totals to 2,430 yards with 27 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. A bright spot in a season filled with star performances, Atkinson will be looked upon to carry this team to postseason success.
“(Atkinson) has been a leader on and off the field for the past couple of seasons here and he’s had games where he was clearly the best player on the field, so I think this whole team has the utmost confidence in him as we enter the playoffs,” said Bobcat coach Rocky James. “We will definitely have our hands full this week with Edna High, but it’s a game our team is looking forward to… I think we can compete with any team on any given night.”
By finishing third in district, the Bobcats earned a date with the 7-2 Edna Cowboys, who came in second place in their respective district. The Cowboys have been a force all year, putting up nearly 40 points a game while surrendering just over two touchdowns a game on defense. Edna’s season ended in exact opposite fashion of Rio Hondo as the Cowboys concluded district play on a two game winning streak with a combined score of 108-16. The Cowboys are also fresh off a 3A state semi-final appearance last season, finishing the year with a 13-2 record.
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