STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School football team is thoroughly enjoying a well-earned bye this week.
And they’ll need it as they recharge for district play starting next week.
The Mustangs (2-1, District 13-5A Division II) travel to Georgetown East View on Sept. 28 for 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Bernard Birkelbach Field, 2275 N. Austin Ave., to begin District 13-5A Division II. Catch the contest on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune or at KBEYFM.com starting with the Highland Lakes Coaches Roundup at 6:30 p.m.
The Mustangs were solid in ending pre-district play with two wins in a row, defeating Burnet 34-14 and Geronimo Navarro 42-32. Marble Falls began the season with a 22-0 loss at Fischer Canyon Lake.
The last time the Mustangs won two in a row was in 2015 when they beat San Antonio Jay 15-9 and Boerne High School 14-13 in pre-district.
As a team, the Mustangs have passed for 611 yards and five touchdowns without an interception in three games. They have 410 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
In each win, the Mustangs had a different player step up.
Against Burnet, it was senior running back Cooper Wilson, who had eight carries for 133 yards. Sophomore quarterback Luke Nail completed 10 of 20 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Andrew Rodriguez had five catches for 153 yards and a score.
Marble Falls used six different ball carriers who logged 221 yards in 38 carries.
Against Navarro, senior quarterback Andrew Stripling completed 16 of 23 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Senior receiver Brock Linder caught six passes for 119 yards, and Wilson had three touchdowns while running for 61 yards on 19 carries.
Six Mustangs caught passes and five Mustangs carried the ball.
Mustangs head football coach Mike Birdwell said offensive coaches have emphasized the importance of ball distribution to various players. It keeps the athletes fresh and helps them all feel like they’re contributing.
“We have a chance to be successful running and throwing the ball,” he said. “With the stable of running backs we have and the receivers we can throw the ball to, it makes it easier to score.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of the Marble Falls offense, however, is what they’ve been able to do on third and fourth downs.
The Mustangs scored a total of five touchdowns against Burnet. Their first touchdown was on third down. The second and third touchdowns came on fourth down.
Four of their six touchdowns were on third and fourth downs during the win against Navarro.
Defensively, Marble Falls is giving up an average of 23 points a contest and are committing to taking away what the opponent does best. Birdwell noted the defense has made necessary adjustments and accepted the challenges of stopping the opponents’ best offensive players.
About the only part of the win against Navarro that bothered Birdwell was the game’s ending.
The Mustangs led 42-18 with six minutes remaining in the contest. Navarro scored two touchdowns before the clocked ticked down.
“We have to learn to finish games, to keep teams out of the end zone,” he said. “We have to do all the little things right in order to become a team to compete for a district championship.”