STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Marble Falls High School football team pulled out all the stops in a thrilling 28-21 win at Bastrop Cedar Creek in a District 13-5A Division II contest November 8 to end the season.
The Mustangs finish up at 2-8 overall and 2-5 in district. The Eagles are 5-5 overall and 2-5 in district.
Mustangs head coach Brian Herman called it the most complete game of the season because of the number of turnovers the defense produced, the offense’s ability to answer the Eagles’ scores and overcome penalties and its own turnovers, and a touchdown by special teams.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” he said. “It validated what we’re preaching to the kids.”
The two teams exchanged turnovers to begin the contest. Marble Falls junior linebacker Lance Long got an interception that the Mustangs offense turned into points.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Becker found senior running back Ben Anderson on a 9-yard scoring pass. Sophomore kicker Logan Barnes added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 4 minutes 16 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Cedar Creek answered immediately on a 7-yard touchdown run by junior running back Dominic Mojica to tie the contest at 7-7 with 2:06 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles took the lead after their defense recovered a Mustang fumble.
Cedar Creek senior receiver Clay Vinklarek caught a short pass from sophomore quarterback Tim Caldwell that Vinklarek turned into a 34-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
The Mustangs tied the game at 14-14 thanks to a 52-yard run by junior running back Hayden Hoover with 22 seconds left in the half.
The Eagles opened the third quarter by taking the lead on an 11-yard pass to junior receiver Damian Perez from Caldwell to make it 21-14 with 9:32 remaining.
An early Eagles snap resulted in a fumble recovered by Marble Falls junior linebacker Mason Neil.
The Mustangs needed only one play to tie the game at 21-21. Becker found senior receiver Warren Cuplin for a 32-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Marble Falls senior defensive back Ben Anderson snagged another interception that Becker turned into a fourth score.
On fourth-and-8, Becker faked the quick kick then passed to Cuplin for a 38-yard touchdown and the 28-21 lead with 4:21 left in the game.
The Mustangs forced the Eagles to punt with 4:20 remaining, and Becker and the offense got the only first down they needed to ensure the win.
Hoover had 20 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown. Becker completed five of 11 passes for 129 yards and a score. Cuplin caught three passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Mojica had six carries for 49 yards and a score. Caldwell completed nine of 19 passes for 104 yards and a score.
Herman credited the Mustangs defense, especially in the second half. After the touchdown, the Eagles fumbled, threw an interception, and punted.
“We did a good job in keeping them in long situations and taking the ball away,” Herman said. “I’m proud of our defense.”
The varsity’s victory ensured a Mustangs’ sweep of the Eagles. The freshmen won 26-6, and the junior varsity won 36-0.
“They’re starting to look like the team I knew they could be,” Herman said. “It was a complete week for us.”