Over the last few years, the Rio Hondo Bobcats and St. Joseph Bloodhounds have built quite the rivalry, albeit a friendly one.
Still, each side circles the calendar date when the two are set to tangle during the non-district portion of the season.
The Bobcats enter tonight with a 1-1 record and are coming off a dramatic overtime win at Zapata, while St. Joe enters with a 2-0 record. “It is a friendly rivalry, coach Tino Villarreal and I have a great relationship,” Rio Hondo coach Rocky James said. “I’m also good friends with Phillip Money, of course his son Kai was the QB there, but we have made it into a rivalry. Even my own
son always enjoyed playing against St. Joe. We enjoy playing them year in and year out; they always give us good competition and always put out a good product.”
Fans have become accustomed to wild high flying offenses over the last few years as Rio Hondo has won the last two meetings in a shootout fashion. Last year, Rio Hondo won 59-33 and in 2017, the ’Cats beat the ’Hounds 52-48. The year prior, St. Joe won 48-28.
“I think so,” said James when asked if tonight’s game will end up in a shootout. “I didn’t think they would be as good as they are, that’s for sure, but watching film on them, they are a really good team and their offense looks good.
Hopefully our defense can make some stops.”
While there is never any shortage of offense, the quarterback play was one thing that stood out with St. Joe’s Kai Money and Rio Hondo’s Tyler Bush going toe-to-toe.
This year, however, the tables have turned for both teams. Each team enters with a sophomore QB leading young squads in search of an identity.
The Bobcats have leaned on Zachariah Rios as their starter and have mixed in junior Matthew Trevino under center.
For the Bloodhounds, head coach Tino Villarreal has given the keys to Luigi Cristiano. Through two games, Cristiano he has thrown for 381 yards
with four touchdowns and no interceptions and rushed for 81 yards on 15 carries and two more scores.
“They have some weapons on offense,” James said. “They have a good core; they are more of a run team than a pass.
On defense, we are looking to slow down their running game and make them throw the ball.”
The Bobcats and Bloodhounds will meet tonight at Canales Field with the kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.