Picking up ground

John Chupe stiff-arms a Panther safety as he takes off down the sideline for a score.

The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Pirate football team tore into the Aransas Pass Panthers in a 76-0 shutout victory to start the season Friday, Aug. 27 at home.

RFHS starts the season 1-0.

The Pirates scored the most points amongst all 11-man football teams in week one of the Texas high school football season. It was their largest margin of victory since the 2017 season, a 65-0 win over Hidalgo.

RFHS Head Football Coach Jay Seibert said the team executed well in all phases of the game.

“That’s what we’re supposed to do,” Seibert said to the team, postgame.

“I told them all week, I thought if we executed we could take care of the game,” said Seibert. “I thought our offense executed very well, especially early on. And our defense flat got after them.”

The Panthers crossed midfield only once in the game late in the fourth quarter; the Pirates then subsequently drove them back past midfield and forced a turnover on downs.

“All week we talked about being relentless in everything we do, whether it’s going to the ball, going to finish a tackle, if you got him stood up let’s go strip the ball from him, put pressure on them, and keep getting after them. That’s what we did,” said RFHS Defensive Coordinator Robie Robbins.

The Pirates got on the board in the very first play of the game. Cole Rios returned the opening kickoff 68-yards for a touchdown (TD).

Seibert said the last time the team returned a kickoff was in 2017 by Chase Rios, Cole Rios’ cousin.

“The last time we returned a kick was when Chase Rios did it in the playoffs against La Feria, and they’re cousins,” said Seibert. “So from one Rios to another was the next time we returned a kick. That was pretty sweet.”

The rest of the first quarter was dominated by John Chupe and Ace Seibert, scoring three more TD’s.

Chupe scored on a short run, Seibert connected on a 31-yard TD to Rickey Franks, and Chupe ran in another for a 41-yard score.

In the second quarter, the Pirates added four more touchdowns.

Devan Phillips ran in for his lone TD of the night from 38-yards out.

In the following defensive series, the Pirates scored a defensive TD by way of a 16-yard interception return by Mathew Vasquez.

Robbins said in the eight years he’s been at RFHS, he’s never had a defensive lineman score a TD.

“This is his first varsity football game, so it’s pretty special for him,” said Robbins. “I’ve been here going on eight years, and haven’t had a d-lineman score a TD, period.”

Vasquez said the TD was something he envision happening as he contemplated whether he wanted to play football before the season.

“It’s crazy because that exact same play, when I decided to play football this year, that’s exactly what went through my head when I was imagining it,” said Vasquez. “For it to happen on the field is just crazy.”

The next two scores in the quarter were made by Chupe. He added in another rushing TD from 31-yards out and caught a 42-yard TD pass from Seibert on the run.

The Pirates led 55-0 at the half.

In the third quarter, Seibert threw for his third TD of the night on a 14-yard pass to Jordan Gibson.

He finished the night 6-7 for 115 yards and three TD’s.

RFHS relieved A. Seibert after and played most of the second team offense and defense until the end of the game.

Cristian Kane added the final two scores for RFHS in third and fourth quarter. Rushing in for a 14-yard score and a game long 56-yard TD.

Chupe led RFHS going 5-87 yards, three TD’s, and one 42 yard receiving TD.

Phillips rushed 5-84 yards for one TD and caught two passes for 10 yards.

Kane rushed 4-76 yards and two TD’s.

Gibson caught two for 32 yards and one TD.

The Pirates will play a 5A opponent in Corpus Christi King at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Buc Stadium.

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