Stiff arm

Devan Phillips puts a stiff arm on a Raymondville defensive back near the sideline.

The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Pirate football team picked up a district opening win against the Raymondville Bearkats Friday, Sept. 24. However, RFHS will quickly turn the page in preparation for a showdown with the Sinton Pirates this Friday. Winners of this game put themselves in the drivers seat for the District 16-4A D-II title.

RFHS’ 48-6 win over Raymondville puts them at 4-0 overall and 1-0 to start district. 4-0 is RFHS’ best start to a season since 2002.

“The guys have worked their tails off since the first day of two-a-days, but they worked hard even before then,” said RFHS Head Football Coach Jay Seibert. “They’re working towards these games all year. It’s a constant, everyday thing for most of them. They deserve it, the rewards they’re getting, recognition, the 4-0 start, and the big wins is because of their hard work.”

Sinton will travel to Rockport-Fulton Friday, Oct. 1 for one of the most intriguing matchups of the 2021 season in the Coastal Bend.

Sinton (3-1) is ranked the #10 team in the state in 4A D-II. RFHS was ranked the #17 team in 4A D-II last week, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

J. Seibert said he knows it’s a game everyone wants to win.

“When you play Sinton, there’s a lot of emotions. All bets are off. Doesn’t matter if we’re both 0-4 or 4-0, we want to get that game,” J. Seibert said. “I imagine it’s going to be a big crowd, a lot of excitement, and we’re going to give them everything we’ve got.”

Against Raymondville, the Pirates built a 14-0 lead through the first quarter and never looked back. Despite a score by Raymondville in the second quarter to make it 14-6, RFHS took control and scored 34 unanswered points the rest of the way.

In the first quarter, RFHS received the opening kick, moved downfield methodically, and scored on a 13-yd run by John Chupe.

The next series was similar, but with more yards coming through the air. Ace Seibert found Jordan Gibson downfield for a big connection to put RFHS at the two. Chupe ran it in for a score on the next play to make it 14-0.

Raymondville’s best play of the night came on a trick play just before the end of the first quarter, putting them inside the redzone.

In the second quarter, Raymondville scored after the trick play to make it 14-6. The point-after-try (PAT) was missed.

The RFHS defense got its first takeaway of the night on a fumble recovery by Phillip Krupa. A Bearkat pitch went awry and Krupa stormed into the backfield to recover the loose ball. The Pirates, however, punted their next drive.

RFHS didn’t score again until the last minute of the half, when Chupe ran in a 19-yd TD to make it 21-6.

In the third quarter, RFHS scored 21 points, including a defensive TD.

Raymondville got the ball in the second half but fumbled it away on a bad pitch. Joe Moreno was in for the recovery and led to a go-ahead 39-yd rush TD by Devan Phillips on the next play with 11:05 left in the quarter.

One minute later, the Pirate defense cashed in on another takeaway. Kalub Schmidt came in on a blindside blitz and blew up a Bearkat ball carrier. The ball rolled in the endzone and was recovered by Krupa for a defensive TD to make it 35-6 in the first two minutes.

The Pirate defense continued to shutdown Raymondville, leading to another score by Phillips from the 2-yd line.

Phillips score made it 42-6 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Pirate defense continued to stifle any attempt by the Bearkats to advance downfield.

With most of the backfield in relief, David Chittarath and Cristian Kane-Morin grinded the rest of the game away on the ground.

With 4:37 left, Chittarath snuck in for a score from three yards out to complete the 48-6 final.

Offensively, A. Seibert was 6-15 passing for 78 yards.

Rushing, Phillips led all backs going 14-137 yards and two TD’s.

Chupe was 11-75 yards and three TD’s.

Chittarath was 5-46 yards and one TD.

Luke Muirhead was 5-41 yards and caught one ball for 11 yards.

Gibson led RFHS in receiving, going 3-53 yards.

Defensively, Krupa and Payton McAlister led RFHS in tackles with 11 each.

Krupa also recovered two fumbles, scored a TD, and got one sack.

McAlister had three tackles for a loss.

Kaden Kennedy recorded nine tackles.

Joe Moreno followed with eight tackles, and recovered a fumble.

The Pirates will take on the Pirates in a pivotal district matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 at home.

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