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Mustangs falter in home opener, 55-16

Marble Falls Mustangs

The Marble Falls Mustangs gallop out before the team’s first home game in front of a raucous crowd. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Marble Falls Mustangs offense struggled to gain momentum in the football team’s home opener on Sept. 2 against the Brownwood Lions, losing the game 55-16.

“We did not play to our ability,” head coach Brian Herman said. “They came in here and made a statement.”

An aggressive effort from the Lions defense set the tone throughout the game, plugging virtually every possible hole for the run-happy Mustangs. After multiple unsuccessful runs up the middle for junior tailback Dominic Fierro, the Mustangs moved to running outside the tackle with senior Caleb Vidal. 

Even with the move toward the outside, the Brownwood defensive line continued to make life difficult for Herman’s inexperienced Mustangs. 

“I’ve said all along that with this team right now; everything is a first,” Herman said. “First travel game, first home game, first pep rally, first time to move their car after a pep rally. Everything is a first.”

After moving the ball through several short-yardage passing plays, the Lions were able to open up running lanes for senior tailback Konlyn Anderson, leading to several scores for Anderson as the Lions continued to keep the Mustangs defense on their toes, scoring 24 unanswered points to start the game.

A strong offensive drive late in the second quarter injected a bit of life, mostly thanks to the strong running of senior fullback Jasael Ruiz. 

Later that same possession, Ruiz punched in a touchdown on the goal line with less than two minutes left in the first half for the Mustangs’ first score of the game, cutting the Lion’s lead to 24-8 after a two-point conversion on a fake field goal from junior quarterback Jaime Castillo.

A quick 37-yard field goal from Lions junior kicker Junior Martinez pushed the Lions lead to 27-8 heading into the second half.

After a swift three-and-out to start the half by the Mustangs, Brownwood responded with a third rushing score by Anderson, propelling the Lions’ lead to 34-8 midway through the third quarter.

With the game out of reach, Herman opted to experiment with his quarterbacks, rotating though Castillo, junior Kody Smith, and senior Hayden Miller on several different plays throughout the second half.

“We’re evolving,” Herman said. “We’re looking for our guys, our dudes. We’re looking for who we can build our foundation on.”

A 73-yard scoop and score late in the third quarter by Lions junior safety Jake Jetton after a fumbled snap on fourth down effectively ended any hope of a comeback for the Mustangs as the Lions advanced their lead, 41-8.

Even with the game out of reach, the Mustangs refused to give up, with Miller running in for a touchdown on a broken-down pass play within the last two minutes of the game, putting the final score at 55-16 after a successful two-point conversion.

Next week, the Mustangs will look to turn around their misfortunes in a homecoming matchup against the Killeen Chaparral Bobcats on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m.

“We have a lot of growing up to do,” Herman said. “We’re going to keep searching.”

nathan@thepicayune.com