No. 10 St. Joseph Academy pounds its way past Rio Hondo 48-28

RIO HONDO — Brownsville St. Joseph Academy’s three-game road tour to begin the 2016 football season is complete and the Bloodhounds are off to a 3-0 start.

In the Valley Morning Star’s Game of the Week, SJA captured a 48-28 victory against Rio Hondo on Friday at Bobcat Stadium as the Bloodhounds’ ground game piled up some impressive numbers.

SJA running back Mario Garcia rushed 26 times for 206 yards and one touchdown while quarterback Kai Money carried the ball 24 times and gained 120 yards on the ground with a pair of TDs.

“That was our game plan all week to re-establish our rushing game,” SJA coach TIno Villarreal said. “We felt that Lyford kind of exposed it last week (during our 30-7 win over the Bulldogs).

“These last three weeks playing on the road has been a tough test,” Villarreal added. “The best part about it now is we’re going home and we’ll be in our home jer-seys for our next game.”

Money also passed for another score as SJA built early leads of 9-0, 16-7 and 22-7 before the Bobcats (1-2) battled back to close the gap to 24-21 early in the third quarter. Money’s TD pass was a 25-yarder to Bernie de la Garza midway through the second quarter to make it 22-7.

From there, after Rio Hondo closed to 24-21, SJA began to pull away again to re-store its comfortable lead.

One play after Rio Hondo made it 24-21 on a 61-yard pass play from Tyler Bush to Eric Pizarro, Garcia broke loose on a 75-yard scoring run to hike the Bloodhounds’ ad-vantage to 31-21 with 9:10 showing in the third period.

Rio Hondo was sparked by Bush, who passed for three TDs, including two of them to Pizarro on plays covering 54 and 61 yards in the second and third quarters, respectively. Bush’s other TD pass went to Frank Hernandez on a 7-yard play late in the second period.

The Bloodhounds, ranked No. 10 in the Rio Grande Valley this week 10 by, play their home opener next Friday against Raymondville at Canales Field.

The Bloodhounds led 9-0 after one quarter, 24-14 at halftime and 38-21 after three periods.

Trailing 48-21, Rio Hondo running back Danny Vasquez went 7 yards up the middle with 2:08 left to account for final score. Vargas finished the night with 137 yards rushing on 25 carries.

The Bobcats will try to bounce back into the win column in their next game Friday at Hidalgo.

Also for SJA, Anthony Cantu rushed for 49 yards, including TDs on plays covering 28 and 2 yards, while teammate Jose Kauachi kicked field goals of 30 and 29 yards.

The Bloodhounds’ defense recorded a safety by tackling a ballcarrier in the end zone to make it 24-14 with 1:08 remaining before intermission.