Bearkats race to home win over Bloodhounds

On a night when the St. Joseph Bloodhounds were looking to show they can compete, they ran into a Raymondville Bearkats team that looked unstoppable.

Led by seven combined touchdowns from ZaRaivion Armendarez and Justin Cantu, the Bearkats’ offense dominated the Bloodhounds’ defense by scoring on nine of 10 offensive possessions on their way to a 69-14 victory Friday night at Raymondville’s Burnett Stadium.

Raymondville improves to 3-0, and St. Joseph falls to 2-2.

Armendarez scored on touchdown runs of 32, 33 and 42 yards, as well as a 22-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Jarod Cavazos, who passed for two scores on the night.

Meanwhile, Cantu hit paydirt three times on runs of 60, 11 and 32 yards.

“ZaRaivion Armendarez is coming into his own, as well as Justin Cantu,” Raymondville coach Frank Cantu said. “They just had incredible nights — both of those guys. There was a lot of individual performances. Each one had their own performances. I thought we ran well. At the end of the day, I’m just so happy with how they played. Our offensive line did a great job as well, but Armendarez and Justin Cantu definitely shined tonight.”

In all, Raymondville churned out seven total touchdowns and 462 yards on the ground, including eight plays of 32 yards or more. The Bearkats only failed to score late in the fourth after kneeling on the ball and turning the ball over on downs with two minutes left as the Bloodhounds’ defense failed to force a stop.

“We just have to do a better job as a coaching staff at preparing our team for situations like this,” St. Joseph coach Tino Villarreal said. “I think that our tackling was subpar, to say the least.”

St. Joseph opened strong with a Melik Kauachi 76-yard touchdown run on the game’s second play to put the Bloodhounds up 7-0, but Raymondville answered with 48 straight points.

The Bloodhounds’ problems began when Luigi Cristiano was hurt on a strip sack that resulted in a fumble return for a touchdown by Raymondville’s Thomas Zambrano with the game less than three minutes old.

Cristiano continued to play but was knocked out of the game for good near the end of the first quarter.

The injury gave way to backup quarterback John Martinez, who threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Josh Martinez with time expiring before the half to make it 48-14.

“Anytime that you set up a game plan all week long and all of a sudden there’s a dramatic shift to that at any position, especially quarterback, we try to do the best that we could with what we have,” Villarreal said. “We sustained a couple of drives here and there, but not enough against a good team like Raymondville. You have to pack a punch to be competitive in this type of environment, and we just didn’t do that tonight.”

Kauachi still broke the century mark, rushing for 125 yards on 24 carries.