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Defense comes up big in Mustangs’ 35-13 win

Marble Falls beats Veterans Memorial

Marble Falls offensive lineman Hudson McBryde holds the gold trophy that went to the Mustangs for winning the area round of the playoffs. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Marble Falls High School football team is in the regional quarterfinals of the playoffs for the first time in almost three decades after beating Mission Veterans Memorial 35-13 on Nov. 19 in a Class 4A Division II area-round contest at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio.

The Mustangs (9-3 overall, 4-2 District 14-5A Division  II) will face San Antonio Alamo Heights at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Tiger Stadium, 940 U.S. 290 in Dripping Springs. Purchase tickets online.

A stingy Marble Falls defense that grabbed four interceptions was instrumental in the victory against Veterans Memorial (8-4, 7-1 District 16-5A Division II). 

Head coach Brian Herman noted the Patriots’ passing attack, which is their strength, matched the Mustangs’ defensive strength, led by a group of motivated and competitive senior defensive backs.

“For 46 of the 48 minutes, they did what they needed to,” he said of his defense. “Four interceptions, and the fourth one was a bonus. I can’t say enough about the preparation, the coaches, the execution, and belief.”

Senior free safety Chris Whitestone caught his first of two interceptions on the game’s opening drive.

It took the Mustangs offense only three plays to score. Senior halfback Roberto Adame ran 56 yards for a touchdown. Senior kicker Logan Barnes added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes 5 seconds left in the opening quarter.

The Mustangs defense then forced a turnover on downs, and the offense took another three plays to get into the end zone on Adame’s 36-yard run. Marble Falls led 14-0 advantage with 3:22 left in the first quarter.

After a Patriots punt, Marble Falls went on a 12-play, 68-yard drive capped by quarterback Jake Becker’s 1-yard run to give the Mustangs a 21-0 lead with 7:51 left in the half.

Veterans Memorial got on the board when senior quarterback Ricky Reyna found junior receiver Enrique Ordaz for a 63-yard touchdown to trim the deficit 21-7 at the half.

The defenses dominated the third quarter when both offenses had long drives resulting in no points.

Becker put points on the board when he ran 39 yards to the end zone to cap a seven-play, 59-yard drive with 7:47 remaining in the contest.

Sophomore linebacker Jamie Castillo caught the third interception that junior tailback Caleb Vidal turned into a 29-yard score with 1:43 left in the game.

Reyna hit senior receiver Marckopolo Cavazos on a 71-yard touchdown to cut it to 35-13 after the two-point pass failed.

Veterans Memorial recovered an onside kick, but the celebration was short-lived thanks to the final interception by senior cornerback Tim Vidal. 

Marble Falls had 416 yards led by Adame and Caleb Vidal, who each had 128 yards on 13 carries, all unofficial.

Reyna accounted for 256 passing yards of the Patriots’ 367 yards of total offense, completing 14 of 29 passes, all unofficial. 

“It feels great to make history once again,” Becker said. “I told our offensive line it’s up to you. They have to win the line of scrimmage. The defense played great. The offensive line is making it easy on the backs.”

“I told the kids at halftime the winner of the next 24 minutes is going to win the game,” Herman said. “Our kids found a way to get on the scoreboard. We made the big plays inside … the big situational plays. Our kids battled, the game plan was on point.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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