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Mustangs end season with 28-7 loss to Wolves

Marble Falls running back Jett Martich against Davenport

Marble Falls junior running back Jett Martich prepares for contact with a Davenport linebacker on an inside run play during the Mustangs' final game of the regular season on Nov. 3. Photo by Stennis Shotts

The Marble Falls Mustangs (1-9 overall, 0-5 district) ended their 2023 season with a 28-7 loss to the Davenport Wolves (7-3, 4-1 district) on Nov. 3.

Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman was proud of his team’s performance, regardless of the final score.

“They got us by three scores. They’re probably that much better than us, but I thought we battled well,” he said. “I’m not upset with our kids by any means. I thought they gave everything they had, we just got beat on some plays.”

Davenport opened the game with a methodical drive with multiple third-down conversions to bring the ball to the 3-yard line. The orderly drive dwindled on fourth-and-short after several Marble Falls defenders bullied their way behind the line of scrimmage to force a turnover on downs.

The Wolves offense returned to the field after a stalled drive by the Mustangs with a renewed emphasis on passing the ball. Davenport changed its course after arriving inside the 10-yard line with back-to-back run plays ahead of a fourth-and-one on the goal line. Once again, the Mustangs defensive line managed to clog all available running lanes to force another turnover on downs.

Marble Falls fought their way to the 9-yard line following the fourth-down stop before facing a fourth-and-short of their own. Rather than punt the ball, Herman elected to lean on senior running back Jaime Castillo for the first down. The senior didn’t disappoint, galloping for 16 yards to keep the drive alive as the first quarter came to a close. 

Davenport stiffened after the big play, leading to a turnover on downs later in the drive.

The Wolves took advantage of the short field on the first play of the ensuing possession with a 28-yard touchdown pass from senior Triston Hamlin to senior wide receiver Emmet Greiman to grab the game’s first lead.

Davenport faced another short field after forcing a fumble by Castillo. It wasn’t long before the Wolves cashed in with a one-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Barrett Fallon to make the score 14-0.

The Mustangs continued to struggle to move the ball down the field on the subsequent possession. A huge punt by senior punter Isaac “Larry” Larranaga energized the Mustangs after it rolled inside the 20-yard line.

Davenport returned to the field unfazed by the lengthy punt and determined to air the ball out over the middle of the field. The decision paid dividends as Hamlin found junior wide receiver Daniel Soukup between the numbers for a touchdown. The 27-yard touchdown capped off the first half in the contest.

After several failed possessions by both teams to start the half, the Mustangs opened their bag of tricks with a pass by junior wide receiver Jett Martich off a toss from junior wide receiver Kole Becker to junior quarterback Colton Minor for 30 yards. Minor followed the play with a 13-yard touchdown scamper on a broken pass play for the Mustangs’ first score of the game.

“I thought Minor had a hell of a game,” Herman said. “He didn’t always make the right decisions, but he made some big plays when we needed big plays.”

A failed onside kick following Minor’s score put the ball at midfield for the Wolves on the ensuing possession. Mustangs junior linebacker Thomas Valdez made his presence known on the drive, chasing down Hamlin on back-to-back pass plays to force a fourth-and-long.

Davenport’s Greiman set up the Wolves nicely after an unsuccessful drive by the Mustangs with a lengthy punt return. The Wolves finished the drive with a touchdown pass from Hamlin to Fallon for the senior quarterback’s third score of the game. 

The Wolves decided to sub in Soukup at quarterback while up 28-7 midway through the fourth quarter. The drive, riddled with incompletions, ended with an interception by senior defensive back Yoel Gutierrez after an errant, cross-body throw by the junior passer.

Herman was emotional after the game when describing how much he’ll miss the 18 seniors who played their final game at Mustang Stadium.

“I want them to remember that they never gave up and that they fought to the finish,” he said. “The ones that finished, finished.”