RIO HONDO — Rio Hondo’s wheels kept on churning as Zeke “The Juice” Guerrero turned in a masterful performance on defense for the Bobcats. The senior had two crucial interceptions on the night as Rio Hondo defeated the Orange Grove Bulldogs 55-41 for only the second time in the past five meetings.
The last time the Bobcats defeated the Bulldogs was back in 2005 when Rio Hondo won 18-0 in a non-district contest. The win also clinched the Cats at least a share of the District 16-4A DII championship. They close out the regular season next week at Progreso.
“It’s been a close matchup between us,” said Rio Hondo head coach Rocky James. “They got a great club that can put some points quickly just like ours, but once we got some stops early on and we came out in the second half and scored, I think that what got these guys going.
“Defensively we got some stops when we need to but overall our defensive effort was unbelievable.
For Guerrero it was a night to remember as the senior has a 22-yard pick-6 and 40-yard interception that he almost took to house if he hadn’t have stepped out at the 1 yard-line.
“This was the game of his life,” said James. “He played tremendously and we kept telling him to jump that route and he finally got close enough to jump it and it turned out great for us.
“He’s is one of those kids that we’ve had in our program from the beginning and he is just one in a legacy of Guerreros that have come through here.”
With the win, Rio Hondo improved to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in district.
While Rio Hondo was on the winning side of the game, it was Orange Grove that scored fast and furiously early. The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first after returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for the first touchdown of the contest.
On its next position, Orange Grove punted the ball, however, the ball touched a Bobcat player on the leg and the Bulldogs were able to recover and score quickly for a 14-0 lead with more than seven minutes still left to play the first quarter.
“I was thinking back to the St. Joseph game all over again,” said James with a chuckle. “They were our mistakes in the first half, but once we settled down we were able to put up some points and got right back in the game.
“I knew the offense was going to get rolling and moving because everybody was hyped up because (running back) Danny Vasquez came back. He didn’t have the night he wanted but his return really inspired a lot of these kids and for us getting him back was one of the big keys tonight.”