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Alvarado’s big leg leads Rattlers

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    Navasota running back Darius Randle explodes for a touchdown in the Rattlers district-opening win at Smithville. Randle rushed for 145 yards on 18 carries. Examiner photo by Mahayla Ybarra

SMITHVILLE – The Navasota Rattlers used the big leg of senior kicker Miguel Alvarado and a bruising rushing attack to begin district play with a 23-20 win over the Smithville Tigers.

Scoring was at a premium for Navasota (3-2, 1-0) and Smithville (2-4, 0-1) in the first half of the 13-4A District II opener. Alvarado notched the first score for the Rattlers on the opening drive splitting the uprights for a 37-yard field goal. Smithville opened the second half with a power running game and marched 66 yards on eight plays, capped by a Chris Sanders 15-yard touchdown run. The conversion was missed.

Navasota answered on the ensuing drive with a booming 47-yard kick by Alvarado that split the uprights with a little to spare. “I just continue to practice and when the time comes I have to execute,” said Alvarado. “The last game against Huffman I attempted a 45 yarder and I let it get to me. This time I just cleared my mind and focused on the ball and getting it through the uprights.” With 4:50 remaining in the third, the game was knotted 6-6.

The Rattlers forced a punt on the ensuing possession. An errand snap forced the Tigers to take a safety. Following the free kick, Darius Randle scored on a 26-yard touchdown run. Randle had 18 carries for 145 yards to go along with the touchdown on a night where the passing game wasn’t effective. A successful two-point conversion put the Rattlers up 16-6.

Ian Flowers capped a 62-yard drive for Smithville with and 8-yard run narrowing the lead 16-12.

Navasota answered driving 72 yards on 10 plays. Ja’Mar Jessie wouldn’t be denied of the endzone with a hardnose 11-yard run.

Amante Chase narrowed the gap again crossing the goal line for a 9-yard touchdown. Chase led Smithville with 70 yards rushing on five carries.

Navasota was forced to punt but any chances of a comeback were dismissed on consecutive errand snaps by the Tigers center.

“That had a little bit of everything it,” said Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus. “Defense played great. We got some footing in the second half running the ball. They were loading everybody in the box in the first half, so we were trying to take advantage of it in the secondary, but they were bringing so much pressure that we couldn’t hold up long enough to get the ball out.”

Dacus also noted the play of Jaquarian Williams. “Jaquarian came in about halfway through the first quarter. We lost our starting left guard to injury and we had to ask him, who is a starting nose guard for us, to play every play on offense because we didn’t have anybody else. That just goes to show you that kid’s character and his guts, because he played every snap on offense and played defense when we needed him too. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Navasota hosts La Grange Friday, Oct 16, at 7:30 p.m. Smithville will travel to play Gonzales.