STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Just how meaningful is the District 13-5A Division II matchup between the Marble Falls and Bastrop high school football teams? Consider this: One year ago, the Bears had a 1-2 record when they hosted the Mustangs, who were looking for their first district win.
Bastrop defeated the Mustangs 34-7 to even their record and used the victory to propel them to the playoffs.
Marble Falls didn’t lose another game the rest of the way, handing eventual district champion Leander Glenn its first loss of the regular season, keeping Pflugerville Weiss winless, and beating Bastrop Cedar Creek, which eliminated the Eagles from playoff contention. That three-game winning streak was the first for the Mustangs since the 2011 season.
The 2019 game, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, October 18, is just as important, according to both head coaches, since each team is looking for its first district win of the season. The Bears are 3-3 overall and 0-3 in district. The Mustangs are 0-6 overall and 0-3 in district.
The contest will be played at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive. Fans can listen to the game on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune or at KBEYFM.com beginning with the “Highland Lakes Coaches Roundup” at 6 p.m.
Bears head coach Todd Patmon told his players to ignore the Mustangs’ winless record.
“Marble Falls kids are playing extremely hard,” he said.
Mustangs head coach Brian Herman said the Bears feature fast and athletic players.
“The matchups all are dangerous,” he said.
Bastrop is led by senior quarterback Desmond Young, a Houston Baptist University commit, who has 42 of 97 completions for 498 yards and two touchdowns and 251 rushing yards and two scores on 74 carries. He only has one interception.
He is one of three Bears who have more than 200 yards rushing. The others are senior running back Jade Albritton, who has 48 carries for 241 yards and a touchdown, and senior running back Tyrin Smith with 37 carries for 204 yards and two scores. Smith has received an offer from Grambling State University.
Senior Payten Parsons is Bastrop’s top receiver. He has 14 catches for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
Herman said the Bears’ spread offense is used to the run the football, which means they want to create space to make it difficult on defenses to cover and tackle ball carriers after the play produces positive yards.
“They have quarterback draws,” he said. “If somebody isn’t open, he’ll tuck it and run.”
Patmon said injuries have forced coaches to have a “running back by committee” approach after losing one back for the season, another for five games, and two more for two contests.
The Bears lean on senior offensive lineman Mark Currie, who is 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 353 pounds, to help get the running game going.
Defensively, Bastrop is led by senior linebackers Logan Gaskey, who has 48 tackles, and Xavier Williams, who has 39 tackles. Senior defensive back Fayzion Madison has 33 tackles.
“They have guys upfront who can cause us fits,” Herman said about Bastrop’s defensive line.
Marble Falls will counter with sophomore quarterback Jake Becker, senior fullback Gabriel Barker, and senior running back Lance Poling.
One part of the Mustangs’ slot-T offense, a run-based scheme that emphasizes misdirection and confusion, is it allows Marble Falls to control the clock and limit the opponent’s offensive snaps.
“They won’t be in rhythm,” Herman said said of the Bastrop offense. “It keeps our defense fresher. Our defensive captains enjoy seeing our offense on the field. They’re getting to watch the game, and they’re getting fresh legs.”
Herman noted the Mustangs can see the progress they’re making in understanding the offense. They can see themselves making the proper blocks using the correct technique and footwork. The backs are trusting their linemen by going through the exact seam.
“The kids are coming to the sideline and they’re talking about what might work,” Herman said. “It’s exciting to hear the kids talking about it.
“There’s no quit in our kids,” he added.