LAREDO — Del Rio’s last chance to make the playoffs will have to come against its biggest rivals.
Laredo Alexander held the Rams to one late score, blowing out the Rams 41-6 Friday night at the Bill Johnson Student Activity Complex in Laredo.
With the win, Alexander (4-1 in district) assured itself of a spot in the postseason and a chance to clinch the second seed with a win next week against Laredo United. United (4-1) suffered its first district loss Thursday against Laredo United South (5-0), which clinched the District 29-6A title with the win.
Alexander struck often in the first half, building a 27-0 lead by halftime.
The Bulldogs landed the first big blow on the game’s opening drive as they methodically drove down the field before Jose Sanchez scored on a one yard run on third and goal to help Alexander take a 7-0 lead.
After a Rams punt, Alexander put together another big drive, marching 69 yards down the field. Much of the final yards were covered on a pass interference penalty against the Rams, but the final three yards were picked up by Camilo Pedraza, who hit the end zone for the score. Andrew Garza blocked the extra point, leaving the score 13-0 in favor of Alexander.
After another Del Rio punt, Alexander wasted little time revisiting the end zone again as Jay Santos found Iker Jaimes behind the Rams defense for an 84-yard touchdown pass that pumped the Bulldogs’ lead to 20-0 early in the second quarter.
Del Rio’s offense struggled to find its footing in the first half. The Rams managed just six first downs in the first half, but more than half of those came on Del Rio’s second to last drive of the first half.
That drive started out well for the Rams as a pass interference penalty against Alexander moved the Rams out to their own 41-yard line. A six-yard run by quarterback Matt Mendez gave the Rams another first down, then Mendez broke loose for a 14-yard run to the Bulldogs 23.
After a seven-yard pass from Mendez to Dominic Sanchez set the Rams up at the Alexander 13, Del Rio’s offense ground to a halt and lost two yards on its next two plays. Facing a third-and-12 from the Bulldogs 15, Mendez tried to find wide receiver Ricky Haynes in the end zone, but Alexander’s Nomar Garcia picked off the pass and was brought down at the Bulldogs’ two-yard line.
Alexander’s Joe Rodriguez was dropped for a one-yard loss on the next play from scrimmage, but the Rams were flagged for a personal foul and Alexander moved to the 16. Two plays later, the Bulldogs turned a reverse into a flea flicker and Santos connected with Pedraza. The speedy Pedraza split a pair of Rams defenders and completed the 72-yard touchdown catch and run to stake the Bulldogs to a 27-0 lead, which stood as the teams went to halftime.
Alexander continued to hit for big plays in the second half.
A pair of sacks on Mendez forced a Rams punt, and Alexander needed just one play to return to the end zone as Santos hit Jaimes for a 62-yard touchdown and a 34-0 lead less than three minutes into the second half.
The Bulldogs’ final score came with 4:44 left in the third quarter as Alexander capped its last scoring drive with an eight-yard pass from Santos to Aquiles Briones to push their lead to 41-0.
The second half was a nightmare for the Rams offense. Del Rio managed just 20 yards of offense in the third and fourth quarters.
Del Rio’s lone score came with 1:06 remaining in the game as running back Ivan Basurto scored on a six-yard touchdown run. Del Rio went for two, but Basurto was brought down short of the goal line.
The Rams will host the Eagle Pass Eagles Friday night at Walter Levermann Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. It will also be first responders night, so military and first responders will be welcomed on the field prior to the game.