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Rattler JV feast on Ricebirds

September 27, 2023 - 00:00
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    Examiner photo by Matthew Ybarra Valentine Castaneda returns a kick for a big return in Navasota junior varsity’s 43-20 win over El Campo at Rattler Stadium Sept. 21. Castaneda returned a kick for an 89-yard touchdown and had another return for 45 yards.

The Navasota Rattler junior varsity football team continued its undefeated season with a convincing 43-20 win over the El Campo Ricebirds.

Navasota (5-0, 1-0) scored five times in the opening half. Valentine Castaneda returned the opening kick 89 yards for the score. Quarterback Jace Jablonski ran in the conversion. Jablonski connected with Castaneda for five yards for the Rattlers second touchdown of the quarter. Grayson Munoz rushed for the conversion.

The Rattlers scored on a Jablonski scramble for 43 yards and a 38-yard touchdown run by Cameron Burrell Jr. Both conversions failed. Burrell finalized the first-half scoring with a 2-yard run and a successful conversion to give the Rattlers a 36-14 halftime lead.

Navasota’s final score came in the third on a 23-yard run by Burrell. Giovani Perez booted in the point after.

Our offense moved the ball on them very well,” said Navasota JV Head Coach Grant Glendening. “Cameron Burrell Jr. did an awesome job for us running the ball. Valentine Casteneda made a few catches and gave us a spark on special teams. Jace Jablonski was able to use his arm as well as his legs. The offensive line was solid as usual all night, whether we were in pass protection or run blocking.”

Glendening said the defense played well after making a few adjustments. “Eric Garcia and Alex Lopez held down the defensive line,” he said. “Cayden McGinty did a good job in the secondary with a big interception. They gave the offense many chances to keep scoring points.”

Castaneda had a big night on special teams with the 89-yard kick return for a touchdown and 45-yard return. “Valentine gave us a big spark and was a huge contributor in all three phases of the game,” said Glendening. Offensively he played receiver, caught a touchdown pass and had a couple of catches for big gains. On defense he was communicating and helping our guys get in the right spot. Then of course what he did on special teams was very impactful to our team’s success.”

Glendening cited Casteneda, Burrell, Christian Garcia, Cayden McGinity and Alex Lopez as JV players of the week.

The Rattler JV play at Bay City Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m.