The year 2020 has been relentless, and Friday, Aug. 28, the home-opener for Navasota, the relentlessness continued delaying the game for over an hour and a half.
Once the Wharton Tigers and Navasota Rattlers finally took the field, it was the Rattlers who were relentless with a 35-13 decisive win over the Tigers.
Rattler junior starting quarterback Ja’Mar Jessie was nervous making his first start, but the nervousness shifted to confidence on the first play as Jessie used his legs to pick up 29 yards. “I was nervous coming into the game but after the first play I relaxed and knew we were going to win,” stated Jessie. Jessie capped off the 65-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run. Miguel Alvarado split the uprights on the point-after to give the Rattlers a 7-0 lead with 7:50 left in the opening quarter.
Navasota’s defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession and the Rattlers added to the first quarter lead on a 14-yard pass from Jessie to a wide-open Xavier Steptoe.
Our kids did a really good job of staying focused and locked in,” explained Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus. “That wasn’t easy. They were all amped up in the pregame warmup then we had to go in. So, they did a really good job of recharging the batteries and getting back into it and getting going.”
Darius Randle scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter good for 40-yards. Randle’s second score was through the middle of a huge hole created by the Rattler offensive line. “It feels good having a good team, being well coached and we’re looking forward to a good season,” said Randle. I trust my offensive line and when they do their job I can do mine.”
The Rattlers final score came with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter when Ty’Dravion Hester leveled Wharton quarterback Xavier Washington jarring the ball loose. Victor Torres scooped the loose ball and scampered 45 yards for his first career touchdown. “It felt amazing. The whole team hyped me up and it was a humbling experience,” said Torres. “Hopefully there are many more [touchdowns] to come.”
In his debut Jessie completed 14 of his 19 passes for 157 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 74 yards on eight carries including one touchdown. Jessie attributes his huge game to the offensive line. “I think our line blocked great. There weren’t many missed blocks.”
Wharton scored once in the third quarter, a three-yard run by Keijon Waddell and late in the game with eight-seconds remaining on a 42-yard pass from Washington to Eric Johnson. The Rattlers start the season at to 1-0 with the 35-13 win.
Navasota (1-0) plays at Sealy (0-0) Friday, Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m. Wharton (0-1) hosts Columbia (0-1) Friday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m.