Rangers run up Mavericks 48-6; clinch playoff spot
By Stephen Gordon
Times Guardian Stringer
The Smithson Valley Rangers (7-2, 5-1) left no doubt Saturday afternoon in San Antonio that they were going to make the playoffs. This, after their 42-6 win over the Madison Mavericks (7-2, 4-2) at Comalander Stadium.
The afternoon became even more productive for Rangers Coach Larry Hill after his team won the coin flip allowing his team to host the San Marcos Rattlers in the first round of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) 5A Division II football playoffs. The game will be played on November 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Ranger Stadium.
"I do not think we could have gotten a better than we did out of our players today," Larry Hill said. "We are playing our best football of the season right now."
The Rangers started the scoring with 8:36 left in the opening quarter when junior wide receiver Cody Beyer took a reverse hand off from quarterback Zach Bailey and scampered 30 yards to the Mavericks end zone for the 6-0 lead. The extra point try by David Sweet capped off the nine-play, 73-yard drive and gave the Rangers a 7-0 lead.
Madison cut the Ranger lead to four points when Tony Green converted a 29-yard field goal with 3:52 left in the opening quarter making it 7-3.
Smithson Valley would stretch their lead to 14-3 with 10:29 left to play until half time when Bailey scored on a one yard run and Sweet would convert the extra point. The Ranger touchdown drive took 10 plays and covered 75 yards.
"The theme this week was little things win big games," said Rangers quarterback Zach Bailey. "Our defense made some very big plays today and did not give up big plays to them (Madison).
The score could have been much worse for the Mavericks as the Rangers were called for seven penalties totaling 70 yards in the first half alone.
"We did see in watching film of Madison that we could throw on them," Bailey said. "But then as the game went on, we were finding that our draw plays were working well because their rovers were going outside a lot on pass coverage."
The key to the game perhaps was the Mavericks first drive of the second half. The Mavericks took the kick off and marched the ball down field to the Rangers 12-yard line but failed to convert a third down and had to settle for a 29-yard Tony Green field goal which made it 14-6 with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
"That was real key for us to just hold them to a field goal," said Rangers middle linebacker Joe Pawelek. "They (Madison) are such a fast team that they could have taken the game over had they gotten into the end zone.
Bailey would score his second touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run with :13 seconds left in third quarter to go along with a David Sweet extra point made it 21-6 entering the fourth quarter.
Three fourth-quarter touchdowns by Smithson Valley running backs David Gutierrez and Tommy Warren to go along with a six-yard pass from Bailey to Stephen Lawrence sealed the Rangers win.
The Rangers conclude the 2004 regular season Friday night at home against Roosevelt High School at 7:30 p.m.