SAINT ANTHONY – Thousands of high school football fans packed the Alamodome Saturday for the first KSAT Pigskin Classic.
The first game of a triple header — Smithson Valley Rangers vs. Reagan Rattlers — started with a bang and then went down to the wire.
Comal ISD’s Rangers defeated NEISD’s Rattlers 14-13, in a Class 5A-Class 6A matchup.
RELATED: Smithson Valley’s David De Hoyos Named Jon Wayne Player of the Game in Game 1 of KSAT Pigskin Classic
“Hats off to Reagan, they’re a good football team,” said Larry Hill, Smithson Valley’s head football coach. “It took the whole second half, but I’m really proud of our guys.”
A 16-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Freddie Dubose capped a nine-game, 58-yard drive to open the scoring.
Strong defensive linemen and good defensive play, along with poor field position, continued to score until Reagan senior linebacker Giuseppe Sessi blocked a punt in the second quarter, resulting in a special teams tackle by the senior linebacker. Donnie Laurence. The ensuing extra point, however, was blocked by the Rangers.
Reagan took their first lead of the game on a 54-yard touchdown run on second-and-9 by Carson Green, taking a 13-7 halftime lead.
Despite the run, Smithson Valley’s defense held Reagan to just 83 yards in the first half.
Rangers took the kick-off in the second half and immediately took to the field with more than five minutes on the clock, but an early penalty halted their second-half breakthrough.
The Rangers’ rushing game stayed within striking distance, but a big defensive stop on 4th-and-seven early in the fourth quarter gave the Rattlers the ball back.
Gavin Woods, a senior linebacker, forced a fumble that was recovered by Smithson Valley and then their offense went back to work, with runs by Debose and running back Doug Lantz leading the team into the red zone.
Rangers quarterback Chase Senelick scored on an early quarterback and goal to regain the lead.
Reagan, on their next possession, got within scoring distance, but a missed field goal squandered their best scoring opportunity.
Senior safety and running back David De Hoyos of Smithson Valley was named the Jon Wayne Player of the Game.
“My teammates did a miracle. I think I did well, but the guys behind me, they really are the MVPs of this game. Without them, I could not have done what I have done.”
The Rattlers, a bi-district finalist a year ago, have a strong defensive line back, with four starters back. Also thanks to the return of Carson Green from a season-ending injury (415 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns a year ago before the injury), Reagan is again projected to top District 28-6A.
“Originally, we had another very good team (to play), like Smithson Valley a very good program,” Reagan head football coach Lyndon Hamilton said. “We had to face Brennan, and things got twisted and changed a little bit, and Coach Hill and I agreed on that. And here we are, the first round out of the box, bringing Old Town and the Country Bowl back to life.”
The Rangers, coming off a 9-3 season in which they were also a Division 1 area finalist, will continue to be led this season by Texas A&M offensive lineman Colton Thomasson. The ground game of running back Doug Lantz (364 yards a year ago) along with the experience of running backs Gavin Woods and Jaxon Maynard could help propel them to a great season.
This year, the University Interscholastic League decided to move Smithson Valley down to Class 5A, due to a drop in their enrollment.
“The kids and the coaches don’t really control the enrollment drop, so we’re going to play where they put us,” Hill said. “Obviously, we have fewer registrations, so there are fewer people to choose from. How this will affect us – it’s hard to say.”
Smithson Valley: home vs. Harker Heights, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m
Reagan: home vs. Round Rock, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m
The KSAT Pigskin Classic is the first of its kind in the Alamo City and kicks off the 2022 high school football season. The event features six local high school football teams in three games in a one-day event at the Alamodome.
The August 27th triple whammy then features Judson vs. Johnson and then concludes with Steele vs. Brennan. You can find out more information by clicking here.
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