JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — In a sport in which offenses thrive, it was the Marble Falls High School 7-on-7 team’s defense that shined.
The Mustangs moved to 5-0-1 in the Highland Lakes 7-on-7 League on June 8 because when they had to have a stop, the defense made it happen.
And considering some key players were missing because of conflicts, vacations or competing in other activities, the results of the second week of the league, which includes Llano, Lampasas and Lago Vista, were more impressive than the first, when the Mustangs went 3-0.
The biggest play of the evening was against Lago Vista in the final contest of the night to preserve a 20-20 tie.
It came about when the Vikings reached the Mustangs’ 12-yard line. On first down, the Mustangs forced a four-second call; on second down, the pass went incomplete.
Meanwhile, the Marble Falls offense didn’t score until its third possession when Dalton Mayberry and Daven Manning took over during the eight-play drive.
Micah Wise caught a 45-yard touchdown from Cade Cool for Marble Falls’ final touchdown with under two minutes left. Manning caught the one-point pass to tie the game at 20-20.
During a 40-18 win against Lampasas and a 14-0 victory against Llano, the Mustangs’ defense forced eight three-and-outs. Sam Harkins caught two interceptions, James Garrison had one and Caleb Burden returned an interception for a touchdown.
Marble Falls head coach Matt Green noted his varsity players have been asked to do plenty. On June 6, the Mustangs competed at the Belton State-Qualifying Tournament, where they finished 1-2 in pool play. Players and coaches were at the field house for the first day of the Mustangs’ summer conditioning the morning of June 8. The first hour was spent in the weight room, while the final hour was outdoors for conditioning drills.
Fans could see by the faces of the 7-on-7 players that they were spent.
And Green noticed, too.
“It was a tough workout this morning,” he said.
He added that his players realize it’s not enough to simply want to improve; they must be willing to put in the work to get better.
More than 100 middle school and high school athletes attended the first day of strength-and-conditioning workouts. Green estimated 60 were high school male athletes with about 12 Lady Mustangs.
“Our commitment is going up,” he said. “For the young kids and the ladies, we did teach kids how we want them training. It’s an improvement from last year, numbers-wise and shape-wise.”
Green also spent considerable time watching his subvarsity teams. He pitted his incoming seventh-graders against incoming freshmen and thought they performed very well. He said he wanted the seventh-graders to challenge players two years older to get them mentally ready for what they’ll be facing in the coming years.
“I want our kids to be ready for anything,” he said, “that we’ll line up and play anyone anywhere anytime. Our kids can’t scared of anything.”