Turning up the pressure

Del Rio Rams defensive lineman Alejandro De Luna hits San Antonio Warren quarterback Anthony Cisneros during the first half of the Rams’ season opener at Walter Leverman Ram Stadium.

When Del Rio and San Angelo Central meet tonight at San Angelo Stadium, both teams will be in search of their first win of the season.

The Rams dropped their season opener at home, falling to the San Antonio Warren Warriors, 28-7. Meanwhile, Central was having a worse time on the road against Killeen Shoemaker, absorbing a 54-21 thumping.

Del Rio has never beaten San Angelo Central. The closest the Rams came to knocking off the Bobcats was in 2002 when Del Rio lost 17-12. Last season, Del Rio was handed a 49-3 loss by the Bobcats in a game that was more known for the Bobcats losing starting quarterback, and Texas Tech commit, Maverick McIvor to a season-ending knee injury than for the final score.

This year the Rams are led by new head coach Roderick Taylor and by a host of new faces on offense including quarterback Dominic Sanchez and running backs Ivan Basurto and Sergio Alameda.

Del Rio also has a host of talented pass catchers on its offense, including Sergio Mireles, Richard Haynes and Aiden Huerta, but the Rams weren’t able to open up the passing game as they would have liked as Sanchez was under constant pressure from the Warren defense for most of the evening.

Defensively, Del Rio did much better in the second half against Warren than they did in the first half. They held the Warriors scoreless in the third and fourth quarters, forced a turnover and kept Warren to under 100 yards of offense thanks to a pair of fourth-down stands.

The Rams will be tested by Central’s offense, though.

New quarterback Malachi Brown had a strong 2019 debut against Killeen, throwing for 305 yards and three touchdowns as well as rushing for 74 yards on 12 carries. He’s a dual-threat quarterback that the Rams will need to find a way to contain if they hope to have any success against the Bobcats.

That also means keeping wide receiver Tanner Dabbert under wraps. Dabbert caught all three touchdowns for Central and finished the game with nine catches for 168 yards.

Central has always been big and fast, so the Rams should expect more of the same when they face the “Angry Orange.”

For the Rams to have success, the defense will need to play even better against Central. Defensive back Jay Gomez will need another big game as will defensive lineman Luis Roberto Chavarria and linebackers Oscar Sandoval and Andrew Garza. The defense is young, but they’ve already shown they can hold their own. How they’ll fare in a hostile environment like San Angelo Stadium won’t be known until tonight.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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