RAYMONDVILLE — The Raymondville Bearkats (3-0) are riding a wave of positive performances this season, including an encouraging Week One win against La Feria then a favorable Week Two result against Grulla, which in turn produced a character-defining victory against Lyford last week.
Last year’s frustrations and dismay on defense have become this season’s biggest strength. Through their first three games last season, the Bearkats surrendered an astonishing 144 points. This year, however, the program has turned the page and has given up an average of just 13 points a game.
However, Week Four provides a new challenge with Brownsville St. Joseph coming to town. The Bloodhounds are a team that is known for its explosive offensive output.
For the past three seasons, games between Raymondville and St. Joseph have produced some memorable moments for both sides. In total, 237 points have been racked up between the two in previous encounters.
“Defensively, we really have to stay on point and do what each one of us has been assigned to do, and do it to the best of our abilities and hopefully that is good enough to contain them,” said Raymondville head coach Frank Cantu. “Offensively, we’re going to have to score points but it’s going to take a total team effort, special teams included, to be able to get the win.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge and just to see if we can step up and get the W.”
One player that will keep the Bearkats’ defense on its toes will be Bloodhounds quarterback Kai Money. Through his first three games, the senior has impressed with 883 passing yards on 51 of 86 attempts and 10 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Most of Money’s passes are going to his trio of receivers Pablo Zolezzi (281 yards receiving), Keaton Cackley (261 receiving yards) and Andres Martinez (218 yards receiving). Through the ground, Money has also found success running the ball. Money has rushed for 349 yards and two TDs on 43 carries.
“We’re going to do everything we can to stop him and others,” said Cantu. “Coach Tino Villarreal has done a super job with that entire team and he definitely has some weapons to go to but he (Money) is definitely their go-to guy and to have any chance we’re going to have to stop him.
“We’ve put a few things in (in our game plan) to kind of slow him down, but he’s a phenomenal athlete. This is the fourth time we’ve faced him and, passing wise, he looks really, really good and if he decides to run he can he run.”
Another Raymondville player that will look to make an impact in the contest is cornerback Deion Castillo. In last week’s Cotton Bowl showdown, the junior came down with two crucial second-half interceptions that helped turn the momentum in Raymondville’s favor.
“Deion Castillo has really improved this year,” said Cantu. “He is a quick learner that’s already having a great year. I want to say he has three interceptions this year and he’s come up really big in crucial situations, and he just feels really comfortable back there.
“Last year he got hurt really early as a sophomore, but he’s doing a great job so far for us.”
Offensively, the Bearkats will be led by quarterback Daniel Gutierrez, who has 375 passing yards and 290 rushing yards on 41 carries.
Another player that has caught the eye of opposing defenses is Marcus Capetillo, who has carried the ball 41 times for 166 yards.