STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
LOCKHART — Going into the contest against Lockhart, Marble Falls High School interim head football coach Mike Birdwell said the Lions were better than their winless District 26-5A record.
The Lions (3-6, 1-5) proved him right as they defeated the Mustangs (3-6, 1-5) 28-24 on Nov. 3, led by Lockhart junior running back Daequan Ellison.
He had 27 carries for 183 yards unofficially and scored three touchdowns, but none bigger than his final 8-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds left to seal the victory.
Marble Falls had a chance on the final play from the Lion 36, but the Hail Mary was bobbled and dropped.
“They gave us every ounce,” Birdwell said of his players. “We needed to get first downs and score points. We were unable to do so offensively. We had a chance at a Hail Mary with an unbelievable catch.”
To begin the contest, Ellison scored on a 64-yard pass from senior quarterback Logan Brown for a 7-0 Lockhart lead.
But the Mustangs immediately answered when junior running back Dillon Mayberry scored on a 2-yard plunge to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the opening quarter.
Brown took matters into his own hands on the Lions’ second drive. He ran 64 yards to paydirt and a 14-7 advantage in the first quarter.
Marble Falls senior receiver Michael Wilcox tied the contest at 14-14 when he caught an 11-yard pass from junior quarterback Andrew Stripling with a minute left in the first.
Ellison scored again on a 5-yard touchdown run for a 21-14 lead midway through the second quarter.
Marble Falls senior defensive back Justin Miller recovered a fumble on a Lockhart backwards pass. Then, senior kicker Fortino Tinajera hit a 30-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 21-17 at the half.
Midway through the third quarter, Mustangs senior receiver Keegan Deering caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Stripling on fourth-and-10 to give Marble Falls its first and only lead of the game, 24-21.
That set up Ellison’s heroics.
Overall, the Mustangs recovered six Lockhart turnovers but could only muster three points off them.
Birdwell had said leading up to the game that the Lions were much better than their record indicated.
“Lockhart is a good team,” Birdwell said after the contest. “They had explosive players. They showed they can overcome turnovers and win.”
The Lions had 418 yards of total offense, 354 rushing yards, compared to Marble Falls’s 296 yards with 206 in the air, all unofficial.
Marble Falls ends the season against Dripping Springs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls. Catch the contest beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the Highland Lakes Coaches Roundup on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune or at KBEYFM.com.
“We are extremely close,” Birdwell said of consistently winning. “I feel like our kids are winners. They show up every day to play. They work their tails off.”