SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of high school football fans filled the Alamodome on Saturday for the first-ever KSAT Pigskin Classic.
The first game of the triple header — Smithson Valley Rangers against the Reagan Rattlers — started with a bang and then went to the wire.
Comal ISD’s Rangers defeated NEISD’s Rattlers 14-13, in a Class 5A-Class 6A showdown.
“Hats off to Reagan, they’re a good football team,” Larry, Hill, Smithson Valley’s head football coach said. “It took the whole second half, but I’m really proud of our guys.”
A 16-yard touchdown run on an end-around by wide receiver Freddie Dubose capped a nine-play, 58-yard drive to open the scoring.
Stout defensive lines and good defensive play, along with poor field position kept scoring down until Reagan senior defensive back Giuseppe Sessi blocked a punt in the second quarter, resulting in a special teams touchdown by 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 nine by senior Carson Green, taking a 13-7 lead into halftime.
Despite the run, Smithson Valley’s defense held Reagan to only 83 total first-half yards.
The Rangers took the second-half kickoff and immediately drove down the field, using more than five minutes from the clock, but an untimely penalty halted their opening drive of the second half.
The Rangers’ rushing game stayed within striking distance, but a big defensive stop on 4th and seven at the start of 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 getting the team into the red zone.
Rangers quarterback Chase Senelick scored on a quarterback keeper on first and goal to reclaim 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 amazing. I think I did alright, but the guys behind me, they really are the MVPs of this game. Without them, I couldn’t have done what I’ve done.”
The Rattlers, a bi-district finalist a year ago, have a strong defensive line returning, with four starters back. Thanks also to the return of running back Carson Green from a season-ending injury (415 yards rushing, 6 touchdowns a year ago before the injury), Reagan again is projected to be at the top of District 28-6A.
“Initially, we had another really good team (to play), just like Smithson Valley’s a really good program,” Reagan head football coach Lyndon Hamilton said. “We were supposed to match up against Brennan, and things kind of twisted and tweaked a little bit, and Coach Hill and I agreed to it. And here we are, first round out of the box, bringing the old Town and 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 line commit Colton Thomasson. The ground game of running back Doug Lantz (364 yards a year ago) along with the experience of defensive linemen 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.
“Kids and coaches don’t really control enrollment decline, so we’re going to play where they put us,” Hill said. “Obviously, we have less enrollment, so that’s fewer people to choose from. How that will impact us -- that’s difficult to say.”
Smithson Valley: at home versus Harker Heights, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.
Reagan: at home versus Round Rock, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.
About the KSAT Pigskin Classic
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 showcases six local high school football teams over three games in a one-day event at the Alamodome.
The August 27 triple-header next features Judson vs. Johnson and then concludes with Steele vs. Brennan. You can find out more information by clicking here.