The Marble Falls defense on the sideline during the Mustangs’ 27-21 double overtime win over Brenham in a bi-district championship Nov. 12. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
The bi-district championship game between Marble Falls and Brenham on Nov. 12 had everything worthy of Texas high school football: solid defenses, offensive playmakers, and heroes. In the end, the Mustangs defeated the Cubs 27-21 in double overtime to advance to the area round of the playoffs.
Marble Falls (8-3 overall, 4-2 District 14-5A Division II) will meet Mission Veterans Memorial at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at Heroes Stadium, 4799 Thousand Oaks in San Antonio. Tickets can be purchased online.
“The kids really played a superb second half,” Mustangs head coach Brian Herman said. “They never gave up. They believed all the way through. Our defense played lights out and our offense kept churning. Our linemen fought their ground and exerted their will.”
Senior quarterback Jake Becker gave the Mustangs a 27-21 lead in the second overtime on a 4-yard run to paydirt. By University Interscholastic League rule, teams must go for two points beginning with the second overtime. The two-point pass was intercepted.
Then, the Mustang defense took over. After Brenham ran for 5 yards, Marble Falls stiffened. The Cubs didn’t make another yard. Back-to-back run plays went for zero yards and back-to-back pass plays fell incomplete, none crueler than the fouth-and-15 pass into the end zone that set off a wild and raucous Mustang celebration when the ball fell to the turf.
Was Herman happy the game came down to his defense making a stand?
“I absolutely did,” he said. “I was super excited about keeping them out of the end zone. The defense stood up and made a play when they needed to.”
Before the celebration could happen, the Mustangs had to send the game into a second overtime. That’s because Brenham senior quarterback Stephen Stackhouse put his team on his back as he ran for 24 of the Cubs’ 25 yards to the end zone. Junior running back Ricky Brown scored the touchdown from 1 yard out and the extra point meant Brenham led 21-14.
Becker answered with running plays of his own for 19 yards and the 1-yard touchdown after senior halfback Roberto Adame ran for 2 and 3 yards during the drive. Senior kicker Logan Barnes added the extra point to tie the game at 21-21.
The Mustangs trailed 6-0 at the half when the Cubs fumbled on the opening drive of the third quarter, which was recovered by sophomore noseguard Jeremiah Bales.
On the ensuing drive, Adame scored on a 4-yard touchdown to end the 13-play, 69-yard drive. Barnes added the extra point for a 7-6 lead with 4 minutes 19 seconds left in the third quarter.
Marble Falls added to the lead thanks to senior fullback Isaias Fernandez, who scored on a 1-yard push into the end zone for a 14-6 lead with 10:58 left in the game. That completed a six-play, 49-yard drive.
But Brenham’s backup quarterback, Rylan Wooten, answered when he found senior receiver Eric Hemphill for a 33-yard touchdown on fourth-and-7. Stackhouse hit senior running back Trey Phillips on the two-point pass to tie the game at 14-14 with 7:17 left in the contest.
Marble Falls had the ball for the final 26.9 seconds left in the game. But the pass went incomplete as time expired.
The defenses dominated a fast-moving first half as both teams each had less than 80 yards of total offense.
Brenham led 6-0 after taking its opening drive 36 yards to the end zone. The Cubs took advantage of a Mustang punt that was kicked out of bounds. The drive ended when senior running Amir Johnson ran up the middle for the 3-yard touchdown with 5:22 left in the first quarter.
Marble Falls had a chance to put points on the board late in the second quarter. The Mustangs started on the Brenham 37, and they reached the 13-yard line aided by a facemask penalty on Adame after he ran for 10 yards. But a bobbled snap by the holder didn’t allow Barnes to attempt the 28-yard field goal.
In the game, the Mustangs had 260 yards of total offense, all on the ground, paced by Adame’s 15 rushes for 146 and a score and Becker’s 19 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns, all unofficial.
Brenham was limited to 247 yards of total offense with 118 in the air, all unofficial.
Adame said he wasn’t surprised by how the game played out.
“I was expecting it to be a tight game,” he said. “(At halftime), coach (Herman) told us we had to play as a team, we were not executing like we’re supposed to. There was no arguing and no fighting. The defense played great. They really stood up and surpassed my expectations.”
Becker credited everyone for the win, especially those who control the trenches.
“That was all the offensive line,” he said. “The offensive line worked their tails off. I can’t explain how happy I am right now. This game is on the offensive line. The backs ran hard, and we held onto the ball. I told the offensive line they were going to take us to the promised land, and they did.”