Mules vs. River Road (10-10-2014)
The Mule defense smothered the River Road Wildcat Wishbone offense. The Mules held the Wildcats to just three first downs on 81 yards rushing and 31 yards passing for a total of 112 yards of offense.
The Wildcats only touchdown came on a blocked punt that rolled into the end zone. Wes Clarkson never had a chance to get the punt away with the rush coming untouched up the middle. The defensive TD tied the ball game at 7-7 with just over eight minutes remaining in the first half.
Josh Lopez had more total offense than River Road by rushing for 133 yards on 14 carries and scored three touchdowns. He also caught one pass for seven yards. The Mules defeated the Wildcats 21-7.
“It was not pretty,” said Coach David Wood. “But a win is a win. River Road had a good scheme against our passing game but when a defense tries to take one thing away they have to give something else up and we were able to take advantage.”
“It is nice to be 1-0 in district and right now it is all about making the playoffs and earning the highest place possible in the standings. Of course the gold ball and district championship is always our goal.”
“We will spend this week preparing for Friona. They always play us a tough game and we have to play our best to beat them.”
Felipe Guerrero kicked off to the Wildcat eight to start the game. The Wildcats returned the kick to the River Road 26. The Wildcats fumbled on first down but recovered for a three-yard loss.
Braden Bessire in his first game back in action for the Mules and in a new position stayed home and contained the pitch sweep. He fought off a block and made contact with the ball carrier. Tony Vasquez and Isaac Acosta finished off the tackle for a three-yard loss.
The Wildcats attempted the pitch sweep back the other way and Dagen Dunham broke through the line and managed to grab a handful of the running back’s jersey and dragged him to the ground for no gain. The River Road punt died on the Wildcat 42.
Danny Campos was forced to scramble for a single yard on the Mules’ first offensive play. Dustin Smith and Jaxon Lee pried the door open for Lopez to race through. He made one man miss and dragged a tackler five yards for a 16-yard gain.
Lopez scooted wide right on the next play and Dunham sealed the corner. Lopez gained 11-yards for a first down. A penalty negated Cristian Paez first run but Smith and Lee pulled on the next play. Lee pan caked the linebacker and Smith chopped down the corner to turn Paez loose for 15 yards to the River Road four-yard line.
A motion penalty backed the Mules up but Smith and Lee kicked the door down for Lopez and he raced by the linebacker and dozed over the safety for the Mules first TD from eight yards out. Guerrero tacked on the point after.
The game was tied at 7-7 at the intermission.
Late in the third period the Wildcats fumbled and Roman Franco claimed the ball for the Mules at the River Road 15. Lopez lined up in the Pistol formation behind Campos. Campos took the deep snap and started to his right. Jason Florez stepped back from his inside receiver spot and raced toward Campos.
Campos hung the ball in the air and Florez snagged the ball on the reverse for 10 yards. Isaac Luebanos made the block to set Florez free. A holding penalty cost the Mules 10 yards on the next play. Lopez then scored from 13-yards out. Guerrero’s kick gave the Mules a 14-7 lead with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats were desperate in the fourth quarter and on fourth down attempted a pass. Vasquez went high over the intended receiver and batted the ball away and the Mules took over on downs at the Mule 37.
Campos kept up the middle for 14 yards. Tre Villa took the helm and gained five yards on a quarterback sweep. Lopez then scooted around the right side for 36 yards to the River Road eight.
Lee and James Lutz cross blocked with Lee taking out the linebacker and Lutz sealing off the defensive end. Lopez zipped up the middle for and eight-yard touchdown. Guerrero sealed the deal with the PAT kick with 4:48 remaining in the game.
River Road tried to shorten the game by using as much of the 40-second clock as possible on each of their offensive plays. The Mules finished the night with a total of 231 yards of offense. They rushed for 187 yards and passed for 44.
Campos rushed seven times for 15 yards and completed five of 15 passes for 44 yards. Paez rushed five times for 17 yards and Villa ran twice for six yards. Florez had one carry for 20 yards.
Florez caught three passes for 22 yards and Keagan Gonzales made one catch for 15 yards.
Issac Acosta led the Mule defense with 18 tackles, two being for losses and one sack. Kevin Mendoza made 16 tackles, with two for losses, one sack, one quarterback hurry and one special teams tackle.
Dunham recorded 14 stops, one for a loss, one sack and four quarterback hurries. Ryder White had 15 tackles and David Rodriguez made 14. Francisco Elizalde led the special teams with three tackles.
The win put the Mules on top of the district leader board along with Friona and Littlefield. The Mules will host the Friona Chieftains Friday night.