STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Marble Falls High School football team will attempt to give District 13-5A Division II’s only undefeated team its first loss of the district season Oct. 26.
Marble Falls (2-5 overall, 0-4 district) hosts Leander Glenn (5-2, 4-0) on Friday at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. 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..
It’s also Brother Max Copeland Night at the stadium to raise money for a scholarship in the name of the former First Baptist Church of Marble Falls pastor, who died in May 2015. Red buckets will be passed around in the stands for donations.
During the first Brother Max Copeland Night last year, the Mustangs beat Seguin 35-21.
Mustangs head coach Mike Birdwell believes his team will play its best against Glenn to honor Copeland.
However, he knows the Grizzlies also will play well.
“They have seniors who have been in the program for a number of years,” Birdwell said. “They’re playing really well right now.”
The Grizzlies, who utilize the spread offense in the shotgun, are led by three juniors: quarterback Drew McGuire, who has completed 90 of 144 passes for 1,229 yards, 14 touchdowns, and four interceptions; running back Julian Morris, who has 79 carries for 561 yards and five touchdowns; and receiver Jarvis Henderson, who has 20 receptions for 378 yards and three scores.
Glenn looks to exploit one-on-one matchups, Birdwell said.
“They’re going to find holes and make big plays,” he said. “They have a ton of receivers and have done an excellent job of not turning the ball over.”
The Glenn defense also has many facets to it, especially in the secondary, where the Grizzlies could have two deep safeties, three deep defensive backs, or a man-on-man defense. The defense is led by senior defensive back Noah Holmes and senior linebackers Nate Hatter and Brian Creel.
“There’s not a lot of holes,” Birdwell said. “You have to be patient in making big plays. You have to take your shots when there’s an appropriate time for it.”
Grizzlies head coach Rob Schoenfeld, who was the offensive coordinator of the Cedar Park High staff before taking over at Glenn in 2016, said his players and coaches aren’t concerned about making history as the first squad in Texas to make the playoffs its first year as a varsity team.
“We’re more concerned about getting better today,” he said. “We’ve done very well, and I’m proud of our players, our coaches, and our community.”
He believes that mindset is why the Grizzlies are undefeated in district play, and he credits his coaches for keeping his players hungry for success.
“We feel very fortunate to be where we are right now,” he said.
Schoenfeld said he and his team feel very fortunate to have had the success they’ve experienced but noted there are several reasons for that success beyond preparing during the offseason, summer, and preseason.
One was that last year, when the University Interscholastic League didn’t allow the Grizzlies to play as a varsity team, Schoenfeld found seven varsity teams in the public and private school sector willing to schedule his squad.
The Grizzlies went 6-4.
Leander Glenn opened August 2016 with freshmen and sophomore classes. As a new public school with underclassmen, the Grizzlies fielded a junior varsity team the past two years.
“We had a few freshmen and sophomores,” Schoenfeld said. “We’re young, and we can compete. Our kids had no pressure with winning or losing. We got varsity experience. So coming into this year, it’s not completely new.”
One player fans may want to look for is Glenn junior center Ayrton Hignojos, who was born with one arm. The 6-foot 4-inch 270-pounder squats 410 pounds.
“He’s a great young man,” Schoenfeld said. “He’s a phenomenal young man who works his tail off.”