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ALICE THANE
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Rattlers cage the Polar Bears

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NAVASOTA – For the first time, Navasota hosted a Bi-District Playoff game at Rattler Stadium Thursday, Nov. 12, and put on a show in front of the home crowd defeating the Austin Achieve Polar Bears 72-7.

With the win, Navasota (7-3) advances to play the Rockport-Fulton Pirates (6- 3) Friday, Nov. 20, at Eddie Joseph Stadium in Wharton with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.

The Rattlers scored early and often outscoring the Polar Bears 37-0 in the opening-quarter. Xavier Steptoe returned the opening kick 80 yards to put the Rattlers on the board first.

Darius Randle provided the Rattlers next two scores on runs of 8 and 7 yards. A Ja’marion Frear six-yard run gave the Rattlers a 30-point advantage.

Defense joined in on the first-quarter scoring barrage as Braelin Whitley sacked the Polar Bear quarterback for a safety. The opening-quarter scoring was capped by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Ja’Mar Jessie to sophomore Ke’Shon Wilson.

Ratter senior Logan Arrington scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, a 35 and 21 yarder.

In a game that Navasota was favored highly to win, a lot of players saw significant playing time, and many scored their first touchdowns on varsity. “This is the hardest game to coach in,” explained Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus. “There are so many variables that you have to pay attention to. You want your starters to get work but at the same time you don’t want them to get beat up moving forward. You want your backups to have a chance to play because they work really hard all year too.”

Navasota led Austin Achieve 58-0 at halftime. Dacus said he was proud that his team came out an executed the way they were supposed to even though they were highly-favored. “You game plan for opponents, but you also have to work on yourself. Every week you have to get to the point where it is a faceless opponent. It doesn’t matter who you play you have to work on yourself and make sure you are the best version of yourself that you can be.”

Dacus attributes a lot of the team’s success to the dedication of the coaching staff. “When I first came here we had to make quite a bit of changes and had quite a bit of turnover that first year. But I am proud to say since that first year we have not had one high school football coach leave. Continuity is a big deal and I don’t know if people outside of athletics really understand that, but continuity matters. If I’m not having to spend time coaching coaches because they know what is expected, then things are a lot smoother.”

For the second-year under Dacus , Navasota has won a Bi-District championship. Dacus and his staff now have their eyes set on securing the first Area Round championship Friday against Rockport-Fulton.