The Marble Falls Mustangs play the Killeen Chaparral Wildcats on Friday, Sept. 8. Staff photo by Nathan Bush
The Marble Falls Mustangs (0-2) embark on the second stop in their three-week road trip to play the Killeen Chaparral Wildcats (0-2) on Friday, Sept 8. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Joseph L. Searles III Stadium, 4400 Chaparral Road.
The game against the Wildcats comes after a tough 56-7 loss by the District 13-4A Mustangs to the Brownwood Lions. A lack of available players hampered Marble Falls’ ability to compete with the defending District 2-4A champion.
“It was an uphill battle going in,” said Mustangs head coach Brian Herman. “Our roster was completely flipped over because we had a lot of kids missing. It was a major, major challenge for us.”
The Mustangs’ defensive strategy was to slow down Brownwood senior quarterback Ike Hall, but he appeared unbothered by the effort, racking up over 350 yards and four touchdowns.
“Our whole game plan was predicated on keeping the ball away, eating clock, trying to get first downs, and keeping their offense off the field because we knew how dynamic the quarterback was, as well as their other playmakers,” Herman said.
Despite the loss, the coach is proud of his team’s performance.
“There were a lot of small victories in the game,” he said.
Herman pointed out ball security as one of those small victories. In Week 1 against Pflugerville Connally, the Mustangs had four turnovers. They only lost the ball once against the Lions.
“Ultimately, we did a much better job with ball security,” Herman said. “That was a positive.”
Discipline was another positive.
“We were also significantly down on the undisciplined, post-whistle penalties (against the Lions),” he said. “The unsportsmanlike penalties were severely cut down, which obviously seems like a no-brainer, but it was a major point of emphasis.”
The game against Chaparral is a chance for the Mustangs to break a nine-game losing streak that stretches back to the 2022 season. The last win for the Marble Falls squad was against Chaparral, a 22-15 last-minute decision.
Both teams have a Slot-T offense, a run-heavy approach that uses motion and heavy sets to push the ball down the field and control the clock.
“They run their version of the Slot-T,” Herman said. “When I say that, I don’t mean to discount anything. I just mean that every Slot-T coach has their own nuances. There’s little tweaks and twists that each Slot-T coach likes to put on it.”
Herman has encouraged his team to play with heart heading into the game.
“I want them to let go, cut loose, and just play ball, have fun, and recognize we will make mistakes,” he said. “If we can play with the right kind of energy and the right type of energy, we can coach the mistakes and fix them off of film or even in game. I want them to let loose and play free and have fun.”