McALLEN — For the first time in program history, Raymondville is heading to the state 7on7 tournament in College Station later this month.
Raymondville opened up pool play at the McAllen qualifying tournament on Saturday with a 42-35 loss to Pleasanton, but rebounded with a 21-12 win over Ingleside, then squeezed passed Hidalgo 12-8 to go 2-1 in pool play and finish as the No. 2 seed in their group.
In the semifinals, the Kats faced a familiar opponent in Rio Hondo. On Thursday in the Harlingen 7on7 league, Rio Hondo came out with a win. On Saturday, however, Raymondville exacted its revenge and got past their rival 20-19 to punch their ticket to state.
“We realized in the final 20 minutes that it was do or die,” said Raymondville receiver Zaraivion Armendarez. “We wanted it more, and we have a lot of seniors on this team and making state was a goal we set two months ago when we started 7on7 practice.”
Armendarez hauled in a pair of touchdowns against Rio Hondo and was in sync with quarterback Jacob Posas all day.
Incoming senior Marcus Capetillo also played a strong role in Raymondville’s march to state, and Saturday’s win was extra special given the Kats had never reached the state tournament.
“It was intense and there was a lot of energy,” Capetillo said. “This is something we have been wanting for the last three years. For us seniors this was our last shot and now that we made it we’re looking forward to it. It’s exciting; it was hot today, but it is something we’re used to.”
HOW THEY FAIRED: La Feria won its first game in pool play by forfeit against Port Isabel as the Tarpons were a no-show at Saturday’s qualifier. In the second game, the Lions fell to Rio Hondo 32-0, but rallied to beat La Villa 21-19 to reach the semis where they bowed out to Pleasanton 52-34. Pleasanton will join Raymondville at the state tournament. La Feria finished the day with a 2-2 record.
Despite the loss against Raymondville, Rio Hondo went 3-0 in pool play with wins over La Feria and La Villa. On the day the Bobcats went 3-1.