The Marble Falls High School football team aims to wrap up its non-district schedule unbeaten, but standing in the way is 2-0 Nike Dallas, a homeschool program from Plano with NFL experience on the coaching staff.
The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls. Catch the contest on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune, at KBEYFM.com, or via the KBEY app starting with a 7 p.m. pregame show.
“We’ve had really good practices this week,” Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman said. “I’m pleased with our preparation going into this contest.”
After defeating Austin Akins 46-6 on Sept. 10, Herman said he “was concerned that we were taking a deep breath and not being as sharp or focused” for the Nike Dallas Victors. But that hasn’t been the case, he said.
The Victors are led by Cam Mitton, a 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pounder who lines up at quarterback as well as running back when needed. He runs the 40-yard dash in about 4.5 seconds.
Against Spring Legacy School of Sport on Sept. 11, the game was tied 7-7 at the half. Mitton played quarterback in the first half and moved to running back in the second. The Victors then scored 35 unanswered points and cruised to a 42-7 win. Nike Dallas beat Oklahoma City HomeSchool 49-0 in its season opener.
“(Mitton) is a run-and-throw guy. He’s an X factor,” Herman said. “So, do we do more game planning to stop him at quarterback or at running back? If I’m them, with that 35-point production, I’d be more tempted to play him at running back. We have to wait to see how they take the field. He’s very good. He’s a next-level player. He’s elusive and fast.
The rest of the team is just as talented.
“They have four or five kids likely to play at the next level,” Herman said. “They have talent. Where they struggle is depth.”
Marble Falls will counter with a stingy defense that’s only given up 15 points to offenses this season. In the Mustangs’ opener, Kyle Lehman’s two points came off a botched Marble Falls point-after attempt.
The Mustangs’ stout defensive line of junior Kevin Aguilar, senior Joe Maldonado, and sophomore Jeremiah Bales will work to keep Nike Dallas’ offense bottled up. The Marble Falls linebacker corps of seniors David Rodgers and Jose Tonche, junior Jacob Henry, and sophomore Jamie Castillo will bring the pressure.
One of the things that’s kept the Mustangs focused this week is “a level of curiosity about who we’re playing,” Herman added.
Nike Dallas is coached by former professional players Thomas Everett, who played nine years in the NFL and won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys; Sammy Morris, who spent 12 seasons in the NFL; and Mike Scott, who played in the NFL, Canadian Football League, arena league, and European leagues for 10 years.
“They’re an upstart program in year two or three,” Herman said of the Victors. “They’d been playing (University Interscholastic League) 2A and 3A competition. Coaches felt they were ready for 4A, 5A, and 6A. They feel fairly confident.”
Offensively, a key for Marble Falls is controlling the clock with their slot-T offense.
The Mustangs have 55 players on the varsity roster, allowing for 17 athletes on the offensive side and about 20 athletes on the defense. So far this season, no Mustangs have had to start on both sides of the ball.
“We’re playing a lot more kids, and that’s playing to our advantage,” Herman said.
In three contests, Marble Falls has used a dozen runners and a powerful offensive line to average 346 yards on the ground.
Junior tailback Caleb Vidal has 35 carries for 275 yards and two touchdowns, while senior halfback Roberto Adame has 32 carries for 247 yards and two scores.
Four players have lined up at fullback and accounted for 17 rushes for 180 yards, including seniors Isaias Fernandez and Rio Suarez and junior Jasael Ruiz.
Marble Falls has outscored its opponents 107-17 in three games.