Four games remain in the Marble Falls High School football team’s regular season, but none bigger than the Mustangs’ opponent Friday, Oct. 15.
The Mustangs (4-2, 1-1 District 14-5A Division II) travel to Liberty Hill (5-2, 3-0). Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Panther Stadium, 16500 Texas 29 East.
You can listen to the game on KBEY 103.9 FM, at KBEYFM.com, or via the KBEY app starting with a 7 p.m. pregame show.
“Liberty Hill is a very proud program,” Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman said. “They know nothing but winning; whether they’re down or not doesn’t matter.”
Herman should know. He was on former head coach Jerry Vance’s staff more than a decade ago when Liberty Hill was starting to become the powerhouse it is today with two state titles. The Mustangs’ slot-T offense is the same scheme Herman operated in Liberty Hill.
And, for the record, he doesn’t believe the Panthers are having a down year. He pointed to the 170 points Liberty Hill has scored in three district contests while only allowing 16 points.
“Their defense is phenomenal,” Herman said. “Their offense is evolving and developing as they go. They’re getting comfortable with who they are and what they have. They experienced the death of their head coach (Jeff Walker) and graduated a strong senior class. It takes time to find their bearings. I think they found their bearings.”
The defense is led by a quartet with the intangibles to play college footbal: senior outside linebacker Aaron Brewer, senior safety Kaden Mcmahan, senior inside linebacker Andon Thomas, and senior defensive lineman Lloyd Johnson Jr.
Mcmahan is listed at 6 feet 4 inches and 200 pounds, while Thomas is 6-1 and 205.
“(Thomas) is Mr. Everything,” Herman said. “He played quarterback when he was younger. Johnson is a beast; he’s a defensive lineman with a physical presence. Those four are all next level. They have the measurables, they all run extremely fast. They’re the best four we’ve seen on defense all year. They’re the most physical team we’ve seen.”
Marble Falls will counter with senior fullback Rio Suarez, who has 45 carries for 348 yards and six touchdowns; senior fullback Roberto Adame, who has 54 carries for 464 yards and five touchdowns; and junior tailback Caleb Vidal, who has 59 rushes for 465 yards and three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jake Becker has 44 carries for 292 yards and three touchdowns.
The Panthers rely on sophomore running back Noah Long, who has 113 carries for 919 yards and 13 touchdowns. He is regarded as the fastest player on the field. Junior running back Logan Dyer has 55 rushes for 394 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore quarterback Joe Pitchford has 51 carries for 240 yards and six scores.
Marble Falls will turn to its defense led by linemen Joe Maldonado, a senior, Jeremiah Bales, a sophomore, and Kevin Aguilar, a junior; linebackers Jacob Henry, a junior, Jamie Castillo, a sophomore, and Jose Tonche, a senior; and senior rover David Rodgers. Don’t be surprised to see senior defensive backs Tim Vidal, Chris Whitecotton, Forrest Swan, and Ryan Minor stay close to the box.
Herman didn’t mince words when reflecting on the game film he has watched on Liberty Hill.
“This is the best team on our schedule,” he said. “The reality is we have to play better than we’ve played to beat a team that’s better than any team we’ve played. We have everyone’s full focus. There’s nothing to lose. We put ourselves in third place (in district). This game won’t decrease our chances of further success.”