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Mustangs get 14-9 homecoming win

Marble Falls vs. Fredericksburg

Mustangs sophomore defensive back C.J. Alexander streaks down the sideline following an interception thrown in the second quarter by Battlin Billies junior quarterback Brooks Immel. Photo by Mark Stracke

The Marble Falls Mustangs (1-4) got a 14-9 homecoming win against the Fredericksburg Battlin’ Billies (0-5) on Sept. 22 and ended an 11-game losing streak.

Marble Falls (District 13-4A) came through on defense with multiple goal-line stands and several ballhawking plays by the secondary to beat Fredericksburg (District 14-4A).

“There’s not one (player), there’s a whole bunch of people who played lights out defensively,” Mustangs head coach Brian Herman said. “They did everything they had to do to win that game.”

The contest started out with a bang as Mustangs junior defensive back Kole Becker returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage, giving Marble Falls an early 7-0 lead.

The Mustangs were penalized for excessive celebration after the score, which afforded Fredericksburg strong field position. The Battlin’ Billies hoped to capitalize on the Marble Falls miscue, feeding junior running back Luke Harkleroad with multiple carries up the middle during the drive. 

Marble Falls stiffened its defensive presence once the Battlin’ Billies reached the 10-yard line, forcing a turnover on downs after a gang tackle by several Mustangs.

Following a Marble Falls punt, the Battlin’ Billies traveled 80 yards with help from a strong connection between junior quarterback Brooks Immel and senior wide receiver Asher Goehmann. The pair connected on two massive pass plays to bring the Battlin’ Billies within 10 yards of a touchdown.

The drive came to a head on fourth down from the 1-yard line after three straight run plays from Harkleroad. The Battlin’ Billies elected to call the junior running back’s number one more time, but he was met once again by a herd of Mustang defenders, turning the ball over on downs.

After an unsuccessful drive by the Marble Falls offense, the defense responded with an interception by sophomore C.J. Alexander on an errant lob pass by Immel.

“We felt coming into this that if we could force them to throw, we’d be in good shape,” Herman said. “The defensive game plan was spot on.”

Marble Falls senior running back Jaime Castillo immediately capitalized on the pivotal turnover with a 6-yard touchdown run up the middle, putting the Mustangs up 14-0 heading into halftime.

Disaster struck the Mustangs offense at the start of the second half as a high snap over senior punter Isaac Larranaga’s head led to a safety and gave the Battlin’ Billies their first points of the contest.

The Fredericksburg offense followed the big defensive play on the next drive with a receiving touchdown on fourth down by Goehmann to push the score to 14-9 with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.

Neither offense was able to consistently gain positive yardage as the game entered the fourth quarter. A fourth-down conversion by Castillo gave the Marble Falls offense new life with eight minutes left in the game. The offense later stalled out on the drive as the Mustangs approached midfield.

The Mustangs defense continued their dominant performance on the ensuing drive with an interception by senior Yoel Gutierrez for the third takeaway of the game with four minutes left in the contest.

A two-yard gain by junior quarterback Colton Minor looked to clinch the win; however, a flubbed snap two plays later gave the Battlin’ Billies a chance to drive down the field.

Fortunately for the Mustangs, the defense came through as time expired and Marble Falls got its first win of the season.

“The defense won that game,” Herman said. “It was all about the defense tonight, for sure.”

The Mustangs take the week off next week before starting District 13-4A play against the Canyon Lake Hawks (1-4) on Oct. 6 at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.