JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — The culmination of homecoming week is football game between Marble Falls High School and Leander on Oct. 17.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive. Tune in to the game on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune or at KBEYFM.com starting with a pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.
Marble Falls (3-3 overall, 1-2 District 25-4A) and Leander (0-6, 0-2) look different from last year when the two battled for the final playoff berth. In that contest, Leander got an interception in the end zone for a 38-36 victory.
But this year, the Lions are allowing 37 points and 398 yards per contest. Their losses have been to Killeen (23-20), Pflugerville (27-14), Leander Rouse (45-12), Georgetown (32-13), Leander Vandegrift (56-27) and Cedar Park (41-12).
Still, Mustangs head coach Matt Green said underestimating Leander is a mistake.
“Leander is a good team,” he said. “There’s nobody in this district that isn’t any good.”
Leander senior quarterback Brandon Hopp returns from last season. He has completed 76 passes for 884 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions and has rushed 49 times for 244 yards and four touchdowns. Senior running back Darian McClatcher has 42 carries for 266 yards and four touchdowns and 18 receptions for 253 yards and a touchdown. Senior receiver Mikael Dawkins has 14 catches for 359 yards.
The Lions defense is led by junior free safety Matthew Long, who is averaging nine tackles a game, senior linebacker Malik Jones and senior Andrew Alaniz, who each average eight tackles a contest.
“They’re fast, they’re talented, they’ve been in just about every ball game they’ve played,” Green said. “They have a good team.”
The Mustangs will try to bounce back from a 62-35 loss to Georgetown on Oct. 10, though the contest did not start out that way.
Both teams scored on their first two possessions. But the Eagles (5-1, 2-1) scored on their fourth and fifth possessions and forced Marble Falls into punts. Just when it looked like the Mustangs would be down two scores at the half, Marble Falls senior Bryce Fry intercepted a pass that turned into a touchdown pass to sophomore running back Daven Manning from junior quarterback Brennen Wooten. That trimmed the halftime deficit to 28-21.
In the second half, Wooten found Manning on a 25-yard touchdown pass after a 65-yard kick return by junior Chris Carter to stay within a touchdown. But the Mustangs would get no closer.
Three consecutive punts in the first half and three turnovers on downs were simply too much to overcome, Green said.
“You don’t want to punt, but they’re good,” he said. “We couldn’t turn the ball over, and our defense forced a turnover. At 28-21, we’re in it. I thought we played well.”
In the second half, Georgetown relied on its linemen and depth to secure the win, Green said.
“Give them credit,” he said. “We didn’t beat ourselves, but that’s a good team.”
Tune in to KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune or at KBEYFM.com to listen to the game. A pre-game show starts at 6:30 p.m.