ELSA — Senior linebacker Roger Adame III was a calming presence for a Mercedes defense that dominated.
“It was huge to have him out there,” Mercedes coach and Adame’s father Roger Adame Jr. said. “He’s an extra coach on the field. He knows how to calm the boys down and keep them focused, plus his play. It was great to have him back.”
Mercedes used that effort to pick up a 34-14 win over Edcouch-Elsa on Friday night at Benny Layton Sr. Memorial Stadium in the 65th meeting between the two teams. With the win, the Tigers improve to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in District 32-5A. Edcouch-Elsa drops to 4-3, 2-2.
“This is a really good feeling,” senior quarterback Marc Ledesma said. “We are going to enjoy this one tonight.”
The win evens up the all-time record between the two schools at 32-32-1. Since Roger Adame Jr. took over at Mercedes in 2014, he has never lost the matchup.
“4-0, it’s big for the community,” Roger Adame Jr. said. “It’s big for Mercedes. Mercedes loves their football. This is one of the games they look forward to. We go into every game wanting to win. But that is an exciting accomplishment.”
Ledesma put on a show on offense. He finished with 150 passing yards and 117 rushing yards. He threw for one touchdown and ran for three more.
“Wow!” Roger Adame Jr. said of Ledesma’s play. “Marc is just a great athlete. He’s a warrior. He’s been our leader since Day 1. He put this offense on his back and he said, ‘Follow me.’ Proud of him as an individual and for the Mercedes Tigers.”
While Ledesma was getting Mercedes’ offense points, Roger Adame III was getting Mercedes stops on defense.
Adame III was sidelined during Week 1 with an arm injury. He returned to the lineup in limited duty last week, playing only a few snaps, but this was the game he wanted to be in.
“From laying in the hospital bed and them telling me I wouldn’t play this year and maybe even next year, it was just rehab everyday, waking up at 6 in the morning,” Roger Adame III said. “Last week, I played against Pace just to get ready for tonight.”
Edcouch-Elsa’s backfield duo of senior running back Jorge Gomez and junior quarterback Albert Treviño had a big night, but the Yellow Jackets’ lack of a passing game really hurt them. E-E attempted just three passes and only completed one.
Still, Gomez rushed for 162 yards, and Treviño had 135.
“We threw a lot of stuff at them,” Roger Adame III said of the E-E attack. “In the first half, they were getting us a little bit. At halftime, we adjusted. We came out and played hard and tackled well and just shut them down.”
The teams traded 1-yard runs to start the scoring. Ledesma scored for Mercedes, then Gomez for Edcouch-Elsa.
Following Gomez’s touchdown, Mercedes kept rolling. The Tigers went 87 yards on five plays, capped off with a 26-yard pass from Ledesma to junior wide receiver Leeroy Garcia. Garcia’s score put the Tigers ahead 14-7, and they took that lead into halftime.
Mercedes took the ball 65 yards in five plays to open the second half, finishing with a 19-yard touchdown run from junior running back Aleks Ramos. The Tigers never looked back after that, tacking on two more rushing touchdowns from Ledesma.
Though Marc Ledesma and his twin brother, senior wide receiver Matt, didn’t have a touchdown on the evening, they still linked up on a few big plays for the Tigers.
The Tigers backed themselves up to their own 5-yard line midway through the first quarter before Matt found Marc for a 42-yard bomb on first-and-29. The pass flipped the field position and made way for the rest of the drive that would result in Mercedes’ first score.
“Being pinned back, we went for a big play,” Marc Ledesma said. “I saw the linebacker come down, so I knew the slant would be wide open, and it was there.”
“I knew he would need to step up tonight,” Matt Ledesma said of Marc Ledesma’s heroics. “Big time players make big time plays.”
For Mercedes, Ramos finished the game with six carries for 78 yards and the score. Senior Matt Gracia had six rushes for 61 yards, and sophomore Sunny Vela had nine carries for 59 yards.
Roger Adame III provided senior leadership in the heat of the moment. Penalties became a common theme as tempers flared throughout the rivalry game. Roger Adame III was always there in the midst of the chaos to pull his teammates out of the fray.
“We just needed someone to communicate out there,” Roger Adame III said. “Even though I was tired, I was thinking about my teammates, and that we needed to get off the field. I told them, ‘We can’t have stupid penalties that could help them score.’”
Before the game, The Monitor writer Saul Berrios-Thomas caught up with Edcouch-Elsa coach Joe Marichalar and Mercedes coach Roger Adame on The Monitor’s Facebook Live.