RIO GRANDE CITY- After allowing a 97 yard touchdown pass on their first defensive play, the Rio Hondo Bobcats (3-2) defense completely shut down Rio Grande City Grulla (2-3) in a 23-7 Thursday non-district win at Sanchez Stadium.
Rio Hondo has been hit hard by injury, but the Bobcats had several new faces step up and be big contributors, most notably on defense as the Bobcats allowed just 78 yards of offense after the first play. Daniel Flores had a monster game defensively but also played quarterback and running back, he completed six of thirteen passes for 61 yards and a touchdown and ran for 115 yards and a touchdown. Joshua Gonzalez played most of the second half at QB completing two passes for 25 yards, rushing for 80 yards and a touchdown and he had one reception for nineteen yards. The lone offensive bright spot for the Grulla Gators was WR Leo Martinez who had three receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown.
After going three and out to open the game, RHHS punted to Grulla and pinned the Gators on the three. GHS decided to go to the air on first down QB Fabian Anzaldua went deep to Martinez who used his size to outmuscle a Rio Hondo DB, break a tackle and then sprint to the end zone for a quick 7-0 lead for Grulla. It took a little while for Rio Hondo to get going, but late in the first quarter a muffed punt set the Bobcats up at the GHS 24. Five plays later Flores punched it in for a one yard touchdown to tie the game at seven.
Neither team could find much footing in the second quarter, but Rio Hondo would grab the lead for good with less than two minutes left in the second on a 35 yard field goal from Danny Cerca to make it 10-7 at the break.
The Bobcats would extend the lead to 17-7 on the first possession of the third quarter as on a fourth and six play, Gonzalez took a jet sweep handoff from Flores looking to throw, no one was open so Gonzalez pulled it down and weaved his way through the Grulla defense for a 26 yard touchdown run. After a botched onside kick, Grulla had good field position and moved all the way to the Rio Hondo one yard line first and goal. However, Rio Hondo’s defense on two straight plays stuffed Grulla. After the second play GHS QB Anzaldua was called for a huge unsportsmanlike penalty moving the ball back to the sixteen for third and goal. That would end the drive and the Gators would turn it over down downs. Rio Hondo would add a score in the fourth as Flores hooked up with John Salinas for a 27 yard scoring pass for the final margin of 23-7 as Grulla never threatened scoring again.