JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School football team capped spring practices by treating fans to a show during the purple and white game May 23 at Mustang Stadium.
The white squad won 28-21.
The teams consisted of rising 10th- through 12th-graders with the starting offense battling the starting defense, while reserves competed against each other.
Three quarterbacks were used during the contest, though incoming senior Cade Cool lined up in the position once to run a play called the Wild Mustang for 4 yards.
Incoming junior quarterback Zach Rangel and incoming sophomores Andrew Stripling and Dillon Mayberry took snaps to lead the offensive units for both the purple and white squads.
And though head coach Matt Green was pleased with what he saw from all three, he said he wasn’t naming a starting quarterback yet.
“They all had good reads and solid throws,” he said. “All three led teams on touchdown drives. Nobody earned the job tonight. It’s still an open competition.”
Despite not lining up at quarterback, Cool, who played the position last season, impacted the game. He caught the first touchdown, a 25-yard pass from Rangel on the white team’s fourth possession. Both of his receptions, courtesy of Rangel, resulted in 43 yards and two touchdowns.
Green said Cool’s value can’t be overstated for a variety of reasons. His ability to line up in multiple spots gives the playcaller options. At receiver, a reverse was called during which Cool took the last handoff and ran for 14 yards.
Cool told Green he would do whatever he could to help the team succeed, the coach said.
“He fits what we want,” Green said.
In all, Rangel completed 14 of 26 attempts for 197 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Stripling completed 10 of 18 passes for 131 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He would have had a second touchdown pass, but a penalty wiped out the score.
Mayberry completed six of 26 attempts for 56 yards and an interception.
Rising senior athlete Sam Harkins had six receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Each scoring pass from Rangel and Stripling was for 39 yards.
“(Harkins) made some nice slant plays,” Green said. “He’ll run over you.”
Green noted that rising senior receiver James Garrison contributed with three catches for 19 yards, but the newcomer of the contest was rising sophomore Cooper Wilson.
Wilson had six catches for 77 yards and five rushes for 94 yards that included three explosive plays: a 16-yard screen, a 45-yard run and a 25-yard catch.
“Cooper is the surprise player of the spring,” Green said. “We thought he’d be a good player, a good (junior varsity) player. He’s playing so well. He’s multi-talented. I think we know what we have.”
The coach said rising juniors Kaleb Smith, Michael Wilcox and Wilson are “guys who have to become consistent playmakers.”
Green said he purposely called a pass-heavy offense to space out players and limit injuries.
“(We) let our quarterbacks throw to keep our running backs from getting banged up,” he said.
The defenses were led by rising junior defensive tackle Daniel Sparks, who had two sacks, and rising senior linebacker Heath Dooley, who had two interceptions he returned for touchdowns. Rising junior Latham Nakhleh had the other interception.
Green praised them and rising seniors Dawson Atwood and Carlos Romo.
“Romo can play for us,” the coach said. “He’s athletic, strong and mean.”
Defensive coordinator Chad Bishop was happy with the efforts of the defense.
“Anytime you can score defensively, that’s a bonus,” he said. “We have several goals: We want to get three-and-outs, we want to score or set up a score for the offense. We baited the quarterbacks and tried to disguise what we do and play to the strengths of our kids. We try to be as multiple as we can play.”
Rising senior linebacker Jonathan Bryer and Dooley are “sturdy” at linebacker, and Green said coaches continue to look for two others to complement them. He said Garrison played well at cornerback, but two more standouts are needed.
Green said the Mustangs suited up 95 players for the spring game. Adding in the rising ninth-graders, he believes the Mustangs will have 150-160 football players in 2016.
WHITE 28, PURPLE 21
White……..14……..7……..7……..0 – 28
Purple……..0…….14……..7……..0 – 21
WHITE — first downs, 16; total yards, 354; rushes-yards, 21-80; passing, 274; interceptions, 3; completions-attempts-interceptions, 17-31-3; fumbles-lost, 0-0; penalties-yards. 5-25
PURPLE — first downs, 18; total yards. 318; rushes-yards, 36-208; passing, 110; interceptions, 1; completions-attempts-interceptions, 10-39-1; fumbles-lost, 1-1; penalties-yards, 3-15
RUSHING – (WHITE) Dalton Mayberry 9-43, Rudy Guevara 1-1, Andrew Stripling 4-1, Brandon Reyes 1-(-2), Cooper Wilson 1-8, Cade Cool 2-18, Sam Harkins 1-10, Team 2-1; (PURPLE) Dillon Mayberry 16-61, Jayden Bridges 10-44, Zach Rangel 1-(-4), Cooper Wilson 4-86, Andrew Stripling 2-12, Casey Salazar 3-9
PASSING – (WHITE) Stripling 8-13-94-1-1; Rangel 9-18-180-3-2; (PURPLE) Di. Mayberry 6-26-56-1-1, Rangel 2-8-17-0-0, Stripling 2-5-37-0-0
RECEIVING – (WHITE) Michael Wilcox 1-1, Harkins 6-147-2, Cool 2-43-2, Mateo Marichalar 1-12, Wilson 1-9, Da. Mayberry 3-33, James Garrison 3-19, Brandon Reyes 1-5; (PURPLE) Brock Linder 2-17, Wilson 5-68, Isrrael Gonzales 2-18, Kyle Hanshaw 1-7