The Marble Falls Mustangs huddle as they desperately attempt to devise ways to score on a seemingly impenetrable Davenport Wolves defense. Davenport beat Marble Falls 49-7 in the Nov. 4 district game. Staff photo by Nathan Bush
The Marble Falls Mustangs (2-8, 0-5 district) couldn’t overcome the athletic talent of the Davenport Wolves (9-1, 4-1 district), losing 49-7 on the road in their final game of the season Nov. 4.
A thorough blowout, the Mustangs failed to gain serious momentum through the entirety of the District 13-4A Division matchup.
“(Davenport) are damn good,” said Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman. “We knew coming in they were one of the better teams in our district. They’re explosive.”
Wolves junior returner Emmet Greiman returned the opening kickoff for an 87-yard touchdown, setting the tone for the rest of the contest.
Even after giving up the big play to start the game, the Mustangs appeared in rhythm after several positive runs by junior halfback Jaime Castillo. A lightning delay midway through the drive forced the teams into their respective locker rooms.
Once play continued, it was obvious the Wolves defense had made adjustments as it stifled the Mustangs run game by punishing their offensive line, leading to several gang tackles to end the drive.
On the first play from scrimmage for the Wolves, senior running back Shastin Golden busted a 65-yard run after switching directions on the Mustangs defense. Refusing to let up, the scrappy Mustangs battened down the defensive hatches and came up with four straight tackles, forcing a turnover on downs.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs, Castillo was unable to hold onto the football on the first play of the ensuing drive, leading to a Davenport fumble recovery.
After being stopped on four straight runs the previous possession, Golden finally found a way into the endzone on a tough 6-yard touchdown run, and the Wolves went up 14-0 late in the first quarter.
Davenport continued to lay it on the Mustangs as the game progressed through the second quarter. Junior quarterback Triston Hamlin dumped the ball off to senior David Miller on a drag route, which ended in a long touchdown for the Wolves and a 21-0 lead.
An unsuccessful onside kick by the Wolves opened the door for a Marble Falls comeback. A big third-down conversion by Castillo helped the Mustangs gain momentum.
Relying on the strong arm of junior quarterback Kody Smith, Herman elected to call for a deep bomb up the right side. Wolves senior safety Darion Brown refused to allow the Marble offense to breathe any life, jumping the pass and returning it for a 73-yard pick six. The Wolves led 28-0.
As the first half came to a close, the Mustangs continued to struggle to stop the electric running of Golden. His 54-yard touchdown run pushed the score to 35-0 at halftime.
Both offenses stalled early in the second half with neither side managing to find ways to punch the ball into the endzone throughout the majority of the third quarter.
Continuing his dominant performance, Davenport’s Brown capitalized on an errant pass by Smith for a 54-yard interception for a touchdown toward the end of the third quarter, his second of the game. The defender’s contribution extended the Wolves lead, 42-0.
Refusing to let up, Castillo was able to find open space and burst through the gap, leading to a 65-yard touchdown run for the junior halfback to give the Mustangs their first score of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
With the outcome obvious late in the fourth, Davenport head coach J.D. Zimmerhanzel pulled his starters and let his backups close out the game. Capitalizing on the opportunity, senior running back Latrell Ross ended the game with a 32-yard touchdown run.
Despite the outcome of the game and season writ large, Herman was still proud of the toughness his team displayed during this year’s difficult campaign.
“I love these kids,” he said. “It’s been a rough season. We’ve had things stacked against us all year. Things that we had no control over. The kids that stepped on the field tonight, I love them, and they are going to become better men for fighting to the finish. I’m proud of them.”