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Marble Falls, Brenham in bi-district rematch

The Marble Falls Mustangs defense almost comes up with an interception

The Marble Falls Mustangs hope to even the recent series against Brenham. When the two were in the same district in 2018 and 2019, the Cubs won both games. Last year, the Mustangs stunned Brenham in the playoffs with a 27-24 win. Photo by Stennis Shotts

The Class 5A Division II bi-district contest between the Marble Falls and Brenham football teams is a rematch in every way, according to Mustangs head coach Brian Herman.

The two square off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at Cubs Stadium, 1600 E. Tom Green St. in Brenham. Listen to the game on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune, at KBEYFM.com, or via the KBEY app starting with a 7 p.m. pregame show.

In last year’s bi-district contest, Marble Falls (7-3, 4-2 District 14-5A Division II) beat Brenham 27-24 after Mustangs kicker Logan Barnes hit a 40-yard field goal with less than two minutes remaining in the contest. That game played out the way Marble Falls wanted: low scoring and close with Marble Falls having the ball for 33 minutes 27 seconds to Brenham’s 14:34.

“It’s the same team but bigger, faster, stronger than last year,” Herman said of this year’s Cubs. He noted 15 players on the roster played against the Mustangs in 2020. “It’s two teams that have improved. There’s no drop-off; there’s only improvement.”

The Cubs (7-3, 6-1) lost 31-24 to Leander Rouse last week in what was the District 13-5A Division II championship. Brenham led 17-0 in the third quarter. 

Brenham, which uses a spread offense with more running than passing, is led by quarterback Steven Stackhouse with 117 carries for 374 yards and eight touchdowns and 85 of 147 completions for 1,035 yards and nine touchdowns. Senior running back Amir Johnson has 70 carries for 583 yards and five scores, while junior Trenton Gilbert has 86 carries for 425 yards and five touchdowns. Junior running back Brandon Ward has 18 receptions for 252 yards and five scores, and junior receiver Delvin Gantt has 14 catches for 208 yards. 

Marble Falls will counter with defensive linemen senior Joe Maldonado, junior Kevin Aguilar, and sophomore Jeremiah Bales. Along with the front three, the Marble Falls linebacker corps of senior Jose Tonche, junior Jacob Henry, and sophomore Jamie Castillo along with senior defensive backs Tim Vidal, Ryan Minor, Chris Whitecotton, Forrest Swan, and David Rodgers will work to stop the Cubs.

“We’re probably not as experienced as they are on defense,” Herman said. “They’re everything they were last year, plus. Stackhouse is very, very good. He’s a veteran, and they have so much team speed. They have dynamic playmakers they’re trying to keep involved.”

Though the Cubs have already faced the Mustangs’ slot-T offense, Marble Falls has moved around personnel. 

Senior Isaias Fernandez is at fullback. He has 79 carries for 626 yards and seven scores this season. Senior Roberto Adame was at tailback last year. Against Brenham, he had 14 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. This season, Adame is at halfback and has 76 carries for 674 yards and 11 touchdowns. Junior Caleb Vidal took over the tailback spot, where he has 79 carries for 711 yards and six touchdowns.  

Herman anticipates Brenham’s secondary will play closer to the line of scrimmage. Senior defensive backs and receivers Eric Hemphill and Kaden Watts and Ward start on both offense and defense.

One area to watch is special teams. After Marble Falls took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter last year, Brenham’s Ward returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown. 

No matter what, Herman believes it will be a great game.

“We’re better than we were this time last year,” he said. “And they’re better than they were this time last year.” 

jfierro@thepicayune.com