JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
LAKEWAY — The Marble Falls High School 7-on-7 football team posted a 2-1 record at the Lake Travis State Qualifying Tournament on May 31.
The Mustangs (3-3) defeated Belton 39-28 and Kyle Lehman 42-32 but lost to Austin High 47-45 a week after going 1-2 at the Round Rock State Qualifying Tournament.
“Overall, I thought it was a better team than the one we had last week,” 7-on-7 coach Josh Wooten said. “We had more kids than last time.”
Offensively, Marble Falls followed some of the same guidelines it set during the past two seasons including scoring on the opening drives of each half and on the final drives of each half. They did that against Lehman all four times and three of the four situations against the other two teams.
After the Lobos scored on their opening drive, Marble Falls junior quarterback Brennen Wooten hit junior receiver Jacob Metcalf for a 45-yard touchdown to tie the game.
But two drives foreshadowed the outcome of this contest.
The first came when Wooten found Eric Cauble on the final play of the first half for the touchdown and a 28-19 lead. The second came on the opening drive of the second half. Wooten hit his brother, Aaron, for a touchdown that pushed the lead to 35-19.
On offense, Marble Falls also is looking to punish the opponent after the Mustang defense gets a turnover. That happened at least twice during the tournament. Sophomore Davin Manning recorded an interception against Austin High, and the Mustangs forced at least four turnovers on downs.
Marble Falls also had some challenges.
The biggest was fatigue. Belton, which had finished spring football practice May 30, and Austin High went into quadruple overtime with the Maroons winning the first game. Then, Austin High kept that momentum going by coming back and beating Marble Falls and defeating Lehman to win the pool.
“We started losing gas, and, mentally, we started breaking down a little bit,” Wooten said.
One statistic might explain why the Mustangs lost to the Maroons. Out of seven touchdowns, Marble Falls scored three conversions.
The coach said that might have been his fault because he wanted the offense to run specific plays.
“I thought we needed to change some things up,” he said. “And not everybody was on the same page.”
Then, with about two minutes left in the contest, Austin High got an interception it ran back for a touchdown. Marble Falls had two plays in the final seconds. The first was a completed pass to Manning that went for 20 yards. The other was an overthrow in the end zone.
Josh Wooten praised the defense for the improvements from a week earlier. He said defenders rarely got burned on the same play twice, noting they quickly applied those lessons.
“The kids from the week before were more comfortable,” he said. “A lot of times the more comfortable you are, the more confident you become.”