JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School football team went toe to toe with Cedar Park Vista Ridge for a quarter Sept. 18.
But the Rangers (4-0 overall, 1-0 district) changed up their offensive approach in the second quarter, which led to a 48-14 win in the first game of District 25-5A action.
The first quarter ended with no score because the Mustangs (2-2, 0-1) forced Vista Ridge to turn the ball over on downs twice.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Mustangs head coach Matt Green said. “They fought hard.”
On the Rangers’ third offensive possession, they quickened the pace. That led to four consecutive touchdowns.
The first came on a 16-yard touchdown run by senior running back Jeremiah Chambers for a 7-0 advantage with 11 minutes 55 seconds left in the half.
Senior running back Isaiah Vilaire scored on two runs of two yards each for a 21-0 Rangers’ lead with 5:38 left in the second quarter. The third touchdown came on a three-play drive that took 45 seconds to complete.
The Rangers’ final score of the half came on a 24-yard scamper by senior running back Tyler Harris for a 28-0 advantage with 4:18 remaining in the half. The four-play drive took 70 seconds to finish.
But the Mustangs responded thanks to a highlight catch by senior receiver Jacob Metcalf.
Junior quarterback Cade Cool found Metcalf in a man coverage and threw the ball to him. Metcalf leaped up to grab the ball as it bounced off the defensive back’s helmet. The Mustang, who was near the sideline, had the presence to keep both feet in, turn and run toward the end zone only to get caught.
Three plays later, junior running back Sam Harkins punched the ball in for a touchdown from the 1-yard line. Kicker Gavino Tinajera added the extra point to trim the deficit to 28-7 with 44 seconds left in the half.
The Rangers started the third quarter with Chambers scoring on a 1-yard run for a 34-7 lead. Then Snow scored on two different 5-yard runs to build a 48-7 advantage by the time the quarter ended.
Marble Falls scored when senior receiver Eric Cauble caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Cool, though the Mustangs trailed 48-14 with 9:12 left in the ball game.
Green noted some players had miscues that Vista Ridge took advantage of.
“When you miss on an angle or miss a tackle, speed kills,” he said. “And it’s magnified when you’re playing a team with speed.”
Senior defensive back Juan Rodriguez caught two Rangers from behind inside the 10 to prevent them from scoring on more explosive plays.
“He’s one of the most improved players from a year ago,” Green said. “He didn’t really play a whole lot last year. He worked in the offseason and bought into this program.”
Offensively, Marble Falls had an opportunity for explosive plays. But the Rangers’ closing speed took away opportunities to get first downs, and errors in the passing game made it more challenging.
Green said the Mustangs’ double tight end sets finally opened some holes for the running backs in the fourth quarter.
Vista Ridge racked up 538 yards of total offense, while the Mustangs finished with 323 yards, all unofficial. See complete game stats in the Sept. 23 edition of The Picayune.
The Mustangs travel to Dripping Springs on Sept. 25 for their second district game. The contest kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium, located at Tiger Lane and Bell Spring Road. Listen to the game on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune or at KBEYFM.com under “Marble Falls Football.”