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Last-second field goal ends Mustangs’ season

Alamo Heights beats Marble Falls

Marble Falls senior Rafael Barajas and junior Kevin Aguilar shared a hug after the Mustangs' 10-7 playoff loss to San Antonio Alamo Heights on Nov. 26 in Dripping Springs. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Marble Falls High School football team’s season ended in a 10-7 loss to San Antonio Alamo Heights on Nov. 26 in Dripping Springs in the third round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs.

Mules (13-0, 5-0 District 15-5A) junior kicker Ethan Ball connected on a 38-yard field goal with two seconds left, splitting the uprights as the clock hit triple zeros.

After the game, Mustangs head coach Brian Herman reminded his players of all they accomplished this season: earning a 9-3 overall record, going 4-2 in District 14-5A Division II, and winning two playoff games, the most by any Marble Falls team this century.

“You’re building something, and I’m so sorry that it’s over,” he said. “And to you younger guys, that’s the mark.”

The Mustangs trailed 7-0 until the final 6 minutes 10 seconds. Senior quarterback Jake Becker ran for 9 yards for a first down and then gave the ball to senior fullback Isaias Fernandez, who ran 17 yards to move the chains to the Marble Falls 44. Becker called his own number but was stopped for a 1-yard loss. However, the Mules were called for taunting, which gave the Mustangs a first down on the Alamo Heights 41. On the next play, Becker hit senior halfback Roberto Adame for a 41-yard touchdown, completing the five-play, 84-yard drive.

Herman said that play had been a good one for his team.

“It was open,” he said. “I’m proud of them for making the play. That’s been a good play for us this year. We hit four or five touchdowns this year. We called it, and it worked again.”

Alamo Heights took over on its 25-yard line with 4:07 left to play and methodically moved the ball into Mustang territory to set up the game-winning field goal.

Both teams began the game wanting to control the line of scrimmage and the clock. Alamo Heights won the toss and elected to receive.

The Mules drove 65 yards but turned the ball over on downs when they were called for a facemask on fourth-and-8 that eliminated the first down. On the next play, senior quarterback James Sobey was sacked.

The Mustangs responded with a 14-play, 51-yard drive that ended when the Mules blocked a 24-yard field goal attempt.

After that, it was all Alamo Heights, which went on a 17-play, 80-yard drive that took 8:29 to complete. Sobey ended the drive when he ran the zone read and walked into the end zone from 1 yard out for a 7-0 halftime lead. Senior running back George Fleisher had 60 yards on 12 carries during the drive. 

Alamo Heights ended the contest with 299 yards of total offense led by Fleisher’s 127 rushing yards on 31 carries and followed by Sobey’s 157 yards passing on 7 of 13 attempts, all unofficial stats. 

But the timely plays that allowed the Mules to continue scoring drives, especially on third down, reinforced what Herman said about them earlier in the week: They make just enough plays to win games.

“They’ve done it all year,” he said. “They’ve won 13 games in a row. They’re a quality team.” 

The Mustangs had 239 yards of total offense led by Adame’s 62 yards on the ground on nine carries and his 41-yard touchdown reception, all unofficial stats.

Senior center Hudson McBryde was proud of the competitiveness of the Mustangs and commended every player for their dedication and willingness to work hard to prepare for the 2021 season.

“We have no give-up in us,” he said. “We always fight like that. We did fight till the end. I think we established something. This senior class and the others stepped up big.”

The seniors, which made up the core of Herman’s first team in 2019 that went 2-8, will graduate with a three-year varsity record of 7-3 overall and 1-1 in the playoffs in 2020 after finishing 8-1 as freshmen.

“When I got here, they were freshmen in offseason,” Herman said. “We knew we had a special group; they were special for a couple of years even though we didn’t come out on top (tonight). They’re winners.

“What they’ve done is so special,” he added about the entire team. “We played our hearts out and came up short. I’m proud of the kids. It was a fight to the finish.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com