When the horn sounds at the end of the Marble Falls Mustangs and Austin Akins Eagles football game on Friday, Sept. 10, one of the teams will have its first loss of the season.
The Mustangs (District 14-5A Division II) and Eagles (District 26-6A), both 2-0, meet at 7:30 p.m. at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls.
You can listen to the contest on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune, at KBEYFM.com, or with the KBEY app starting with a 7 p.m. pregame show.
Along with their current records, the two teams mirror each other in other ways. Both have strong, fast running games led by seniors at quarterback and running back. Both boast powerful offensive lines thanks to solid footwork, experience, and strength. And both have stingy defenses that feature athletic, robust, tenacious, and speedy players.
“They have a veteran group,” Mustangs head coach Brian Herman said of Akins. “They have one sophomore and two juniors. Eight seniors are on defense.”
The Eagles defense, which has yet to give up a point this season, includes senior defensive linemen Moises Ramirez and Elijah Cardona, senior linebackers Zach Cagle and Skylar Cope-Duval, and senior defensive backs Kimani Smith, Davion Smith, and Anthony Tijerina.
What makes the Akins defense dangerous is its ability to force and recover turnovers. The Eagles had two fumble recoveries and an interception in their 27-0 win over Elgin on Aug. 27. They followed that with a 39-0 thumping of Bastrop Cedar Creek on Sept. 3.
On the offensive side, Cagle also starts at running back, while Smith can line up at receiver, halfback, and running back. Senior quarterback Michael Ybarra operates the Eagles’ spread offense.
“Smith scares me more than anybody,” Herman said. “He has top-end speed. He’s very, very fast.”
Cagle, Smith, and Ybarra make plays happen by using their speed, following downfield blocking, or extending plays with their legs. Herman noted the Eagles have multiple formations designed to confuse the defense.
“They put up 66 points in two games and haven’t given up a score yet,” the Mustangs coach noted. “They have a new head coach (Joey Saxe), new energy, are undefeated, and haven’t been scored on. I feel like they’re going to be stout.”