RIO HONDO — While Tyler Bush and Eric Pizarro have dominated the headlines for the Rio Hondo Bobcats this season, 6-foot-2 guard Ty Rhyner has quietly stood at the heart of Rio Hondo’s potent offensive attack.
However, on the eve of one of the biggest games of the season against Raymondville, the senior, who is an Area X FFA officer, almost was going to be a no-show.
“I was scheduled to attend the National FFA Convention this week in Indianapolis and I would not be able to leave early from the convention so we decided to allow a substitute to attend in my place because of the magnitude and importance of this game,” said Rhyner. “It was a hard decision, but I knew in the end that I couldn’t let my team down.
“This is going to be our biggest game of the season so far, and we have been mentally and physically preparing for these guys for weeks. Our team has been eager to play this game since the beginning of the season. We are ready.”
Rhyner, who plays both offensive tackle positions, has impressed so much on the offensive line this season that his knowledge of the game has seen him also play defense.
“Ty is an outstanding student that is very involved in school and is an excellent football player,” said Rio Hondo head coach Rocky James. “This year he has really stood out as probably our best offensive lineman and he really stood out so much that we started giving him reps on defense. Against Brownsville St. Joe he was really one of the players that really started turning that game around for us with his energy and excitement.
“He’s a huge part of what we do and he’s the one that really keeps that offensive line together.”
BOBCATS FOCUSED SOLELY ON BEARKATS: With an attack-minded offense that has amassed an impressive district-leading 2,727 yards of offense this season, the Bobcats have basked in getting one impressive offensive performance after another.
And while injuries have hammered away at Rio Hondo’s backfield, the team is ready for the test ahead. That test is an undefeated Raymondville team that has managed to stop opponents in their tracks.
Nevertheless, Rio Hondo head coach Rocky James is optimistic about the game ahead.
“We have a really positive mindset,” said James. “We play these guys year-in and year out so we know what they’re going to do and they know what we are going to do so it’s going to be one of those games that whoever executes the best is going to win this game. We are hoping our defense comes to play and if we do we’ll give them a hard time for sure.
“It’s all about bringing home the district title and about bringing home that golden ball,” added James. “But in order for us to be able to bring it back again we have to go through Raymondville. Them being undefeated this year is going to be a tough test for us, but our guys are up for it. I’ve been here for 12 years and we’ve done pretty well against them. The mindset of our kids is just to win this game. Our hard work and our dedication to what we do here, I think, is what is going to win us the game.”