The Marble Falls defense has another test when the Mustangs take on San Antonio Alamo Heights on Friday, Nov. 26, in Dripping Springs. Photo by Stennis Shotts
It’s been over two decades since the Marble Falls High School football team advanced to the third round of the playoffs in 1996, but the 2021 Mustangs are on their way back.
Marble Falls (9-3 overall, 4-2 District 14-5A Division II) faces San Antonio Alamo Heights in a regional playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Tiger Stadium, 940 U.S. 290 in Dripping Springs. Tickets are available online. Listen to the game on KBEY 103.9 Radio Picayune, at KBEYFM.com, and via the KBEY app starting with a 7 p.m. pregame show.
Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman said Alamo Heights is the most complete program his squad has faced this season.
“They only have two sophomores on their team,” he said. “They’re experienced and are solid, solid, solid. They’re clearly the best team in the region. They’ve been in the top 10 in the state throughout the year.”
The strength of the Mules (12-0, 5-0 District 15-5A Division II) is their defense, Herman said. Senior linebackers Cody Burke, Roan Erwin, and Henry Haugen lead the Alamo Heights defense, which is anchored by linemen senior Hunter Blakey and junior Tommy Colligan.
Alamo Heights has given up an average of 18 points per game and has beaten two slot-T teams this season: Fischer Canyon Lake, 38-21, on Sept. 17 and Edcouch-Elsa, 53-7, on Nov. 12 to begin the playoffs. Marble Falls runs a slot-T offense.
“They’re defensive heavy,” Herman said. “It’s their cornerstone and foundation. What’s impressive about them is on every film, they find a way to win. They do what it takes to win. They’re the perfect blend of Liberty Hill and (Austin) McCallum. They have toughness and discipline like McCallum and balance, size, and athleticism like Liberty Hill. (Alamo Heights) has dudes who can run and hit.”
Marble Falls will turn to its trio of runners to operate its offense: senior halfback Robert Adame, who has 104 carries for 948 yards and 14 touchdowns; junior tailback Caleb Vidal, who has 99 carries for 849 yards and seven scores; and senior fullback Isaias Fernandez, who has 105 carries for 702 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jake Becker has 97 carries for 701 yards and nine touchdowns.
Offensively, the Mules operate a balanced attack through its spread formations. Senior quarterback James Sobey has completed 92 of 148 passes for 1,689 yards, 21 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also has 82 carries for 304 yards and four scores. Senior running back George Flesher has 122 carries for 714 yards and three touchdowns, while junior receiver Rett Anderson has 40 receptions for 822 yards and 14 scores. Another remarkable player is freshman receiver Michae Terry, who has 11 catches for 202 yards and three touchdowns in seven games.
“They’re a very well-coached, very balanced team,” Herman said. “Those are some scary dudes. They’re explosive and make dynamic plays. Sobey, in my opinion, is more of a pocket guy, but he’s effective when he runs.”
The Mustang defense has limited its two playoff opponents to an average of 187 yards passing and 120 yards rushing. Both Brenham and Mission Veterans Memorial used spread attacks to pass the football. Marble Falls recovered at least two turnovers in each contest. Senior defensive backs Ryan Minor, Forrest Swan, Tim Vidal, and Chris Whitecotton will attempt to do what they’ve done previously: keep the passing attacks in check. They’ll rely on pressure from the front seven led by defensive linemen senior Joe Maldonado, junior Kevin Aguilar, and sophomore Jeremiah Bales.
The Marble Falls Athletic Booster Club is holding a sendoff for the Mustangs on Friday, Nov. 26, starting between 3 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. (the anticipated time the team bus will leave Marble Falls High School). The club is encouraging Mustang fans to line the west side of Mustang Drive, along U.S. 281 south from RR 1431, and the U.S. 281 bridge over Lake Marble Falls, to cheer on the team as they head for Dripping Springs.
The club is also asking Marble Falls area businesses to show their support for the Mustangs by painting their windows, hanging banners and stringing ribbons — all in purple and gold.