STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — With its 34-14 win over Burnet last week, a confident Marble Falls High School football team hits the road Friday, Sept. 14, for its third game of the season.
The Mustangs (1-1) travel to Geronimo Navarro (2-0). Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Erwin Lee field, 5895 Texas 123 North in Geronimo. Listen to the game on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune or at KBEYFM.com starting with the Highland Lakes Coaches Roundup at 6:30 p.m.
“We want to go there and play well,” Marble Falls head coach Mike Birdwell said.
The Panthers have a new head coach, Rod Blount, who learned the Slot-T offense 17 years ago at Brackettsville. It’s an offense Navarro has run for several years, so about the only learning curve for the players has been the terminology, Blount said.
“They’ve been very successful in the past,” he said. “Anytime you’re coming in, there’s going to be some changes. It’s a lot easier to make those changes and push the kids while winning.”
In its first two games, Navarro beat Gonzales 55-35 and Marion 50-36.
The Panthers’ offense is led by Johnny Alegria, who has 35 carries for 349 yards and six touchdowns; Euler Deleon, with 40 carries for 282 yards and five scores; and quarterback Bryan Butler, who has 26 carries for 123 yards and has completed 4 of 6 passes for 126 yards.
Butler, starting for the first year, has done a good job in the passing game, Blount said.
The goal is for the Panthers to average at least 4 yards a play while taking their time driving the ball down the field.
To Blount, the best defense would be his offense chewing time off the clock to keep the Mustangs’ offense on the sideline.
Birdwell said the Mustangs know the challenge they’re facing.
“We’re going to have our hands full,” he said. “We have to get stops on third and fourth down. If they get up by two scores in a hurry, they could put your offense and defense in a bind.”
Navarro’s defense is led by senior defensive end Rawson Young, who had 67 tackles and three sacks last season, and junior linebacker Euler Deleon, who had 84 tackles in 2017.
“We want to get eleven guys to the ball every single play,” Blount said. “We want kids who are hungry and get after it. We want to put pressure and make the offense earn every single yard.”
One point of emphasis was the defensive players trusting their reads and each other to be where they’re supposed, Blount said.
“They’re starting to believe in each other,” he said.
Marble Falls will counter with senior running backs Cooper Wilson, who had eight carries for 133 yards last week against Burnet, and junior running back Hayden Wells, who has 22 carries for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore receiver Andrew Rodriguez has seven receptions for 161 yards and a score, and senior receiver Kyle Hanshaw has six receptions for 73 yards.