With its most dominant first-half performance of the season, the Marble Falls High School football team crushed Austin Navarro 76-0 in the Mustangs’ homecoming game Oct. 22.
The Mustangs (5-3 overall, 2-2 District 14-5A Division II) used nine different ball carriers and scored on eight of their nine first-half possessions and two of their three second-half possessions after officials called for a running clock midway through the second quarter. By then, Marble Falls led 55-0. The only possession in the first half they didn’t score on was when they fumbled in the end zone. Their only scoreless possession in the second half was because they were in victory formation.
“We purposely tried to get as many guys in the end zone,” Mustangs head coach Brian Herman said. “It’s not about one feature guy, it’s about the team.”
The game couldn’t have started better for the Mustangs. On third-and-9, Navarro (0-8, 0-4) sophomore quarterback Daemion Cervantes scrambled but lost the ball, allowing Mustang junior outside linebacker Jacob Henry to pick it up and run it in from 26 yards out. The extra point was no good, and Marble Falls led 6-0 with 10 minutes 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
Navarro went three-and-out on the next drive. But on fourth down, the ball rolled to the punter, who was tackled on the Vikings’ 4-yard line.
That Marble Falls offensive possession started an onslaught of touchdowns with five in the first quarter. Senior fullback Isaias Fernandez needed one play to score from the 4-yard line to give the Mustangs a 13-0 lead with 9:36 in the opening stanza.
Then, junior tailback Caleb Vidal ran 53 yards untouched for a 20-0 lead with 7:46 left in the first quarter.
Another Navarro three-and-out and another one-play drive for Marble Falls. This time, senior halfback Roberto Adame ran 50 yards to the end zone for a 27-0 advantage at the 6-minute mark.
Henry intercepted Cervantes, and Mustangs senior quarterback Jake Becker found senior receiver Josh Allen for a 22-yard touchdown with 5:40 remaining in the first quarter.
By the middle of the opening stanza, Herman moved his defensive skill players to the offense. That’s why senior David Rodgers ran 19 yards to the end zone and a 41-0 lead with 1:49 remaining in the first quarter.
Fernandez began the second quarter like he started the first, with a touchdown, this time from 8 yards out to give Marble Falls a 48-0 lead with 11:56 to play in the first half.
Herman replaced the offensive starters with reserves on the next drive, and sophomore tailback Dominic Fierro romped 19 yards for the touchdown and a 55-0 lead with 9:50 left in the first half.
Marble Falls senior Rafael Barajas scored on an 8-yard run to give the Mustangs a 62-0 lead at the half.
On the opening drive of the third quarter with a running clock, Marble Falls junior halfback Jasael Ruiz scored on a 3-yard run for a 69-0 lead.
Barajas got his second touchdown of the contest thanks to a 12-yard run that gave Marble Falls a 76-0 advantage midway through the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs had 352 of total offense in the first half with 330 on the ground. In all, they racked up 427 rushing yards on 28 carries. Barajas had seven rushes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, while Fernandez had four carries for 49 yards and two scores.
Meanwhile, the Marble Falls defense limited the Vikings to 9 yards of total offense in the first half and forced four turnovers. Navarro had 11 yards of total offense for the game.
Henry said he was committed to doing his job and playing the way his coaches instructed.
“I knew we had to play our game plan and perform,” he said. “It feels super good, to be honest. It’s super exciting to win.”
Herman credited the linemen for the production on both sides of the ball as highlighted by the many ball carriers who scored and the many defensive plays made by the linebackers and secondary that never allowed the Vikings to get comfortable. He was not surprised by the performances.
“I thought we had the advantage in the trenches,” he said. “It showed. On the defensive side, we got in the backfield most of the night.”
Marble Falls will travel to face Austin Northeast at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at Nelson Field, 7105 Berkman Drive in Austin.