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Marble Falls faces pass-heavy Mission Veterans Memorial in second round

Marble Falls High School football

Marble Falls plays Mission Veterans Memorial in a second-round playoff game Friday, Nov. 19. Photo by Mark Stracke

The Marble Falls High School football team faces Mission Veterans Memorial on Friday, Nov. 19, in the area round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Heroes Stadium, 4799 Thousand Oaks Drive in San Antonio.

Tickets are available online. You can 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.

The Mustangs (8-3 overall, 4-2 District 14-5A Division II) are familiar with the stadium. It’s where their 2020 season ended in the second round of the playoffs against Sharyland Mission Pioneer.

“We basically put to (our players) that we purposely agreed to play in this stadium because we knew how it felt,” head coach Brian Herman said. “This is an opportunity to take care of some unfinished business. We did plenty of things in (last year’s) game that kept us from winning.”

Veterans Memorial (8-3, 7-1 District 16 Division II) will operate from a spread offense emphasizing passing over running. Senior quarterback Ricky Reyna leads the team’s offense. He has 175 completions of 351 passes for 2,413 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions as well as 63 carries for 321 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

“They’ll give it to backs occasionally to keep you honest,” Herman said. “They’re trying not to be overly complicated in terms of format. The quarterback is really, really good. He’s mainly good at extending plays. He makes plays you think he shouldn’t. ”

Reyna’s favorite targets are senior receivers Marckopolo Cavazos, who has 44 catches for 736 yards and eight touchdowns, and Dylan Velasquez, who has 63 receptions for 816 yards and seven scores. Sophomore running back Pablo Lopez, who has six catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns, also contributes to the passing attack.

“Reyna will fling it to Lopez out of the backfield. They’re really good at getting the backs involved,” Herman said. “Veterans Memorial wants to get you in space and get it to their primary dudes: Cavazos and Velasquez.”

Marble Falls will counter with senior defensive backs Ryan Minor, Forrest Swan, Tim Vidal, and Chris Whitecotton.

The other part of the Veterans Memorial offense that sticks out to Marble Falls coaches is the size of its line, led by juniors Joe Padilla and Eric Perez. They will face Marble Falls defensive linemen senior Joe Maldonado, junior Kevin Aguilar, and sophomore Jeremiah Bales. 

“They’re big space eaters,” Herman said of the opponent’s line. “Because they run a spread, the offensive linemen are catch shielders and space eaters. They’ll be hard to get around.” 

As for Veterans Memorial’s defense, the Mustangs will note where defensive lineman Mark Champion and linebackers Justin Munoz, Luis DeHoyos, and Cody Von Wald are standing.

“Champion is a beast. They move him around a lot. He’s an edge guy,” Herman said. “The defense is very, aggressive, very quick and physical.”

Meanwhile, the Mustangs offensive line of seniors Laron Earls, Hudson McBryde, Matis Fonseca, and Gerardo Hernandez and junior Kaden Roberts will be counted on to control the line of scrimmage to get the Marble Falls slot-T offense going. 

Senior halfback Roberto Adame leads the team with 820 yards and 12 touchdowns followed by junior tailback Caleb Vidal with 721 yards and six touchdowns. Senior fullback Isaias Fernandez has 650 yards and eight scores. 

Mustang fans are invited to cheer on the team as buses leave the campus at 2:25 p.m. Friday. Line up on Mustang Drive and along parts of U.S. 281 South, including the Marble Falls bridge.  

jfierro@thepicayune.com