Mules vs. Friona (10-17-2014)
It has been said that football games are won and lost in trenches. Friday night the Mules controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to defeat the Friona Chieftains 55-7.
Friona found out early the sledding was going to be tough. Felipe Guerrero kicked off for the Mules to start the game and Friona returned to their 31. Issac Acosta sealed off the outside and dropped the Chiefs premier running back, Gabrial Chico, for a yard loss.
Friona could not make up the loss on the next two plays and were forced to punt. The punt was taken by Jason Florez at the Mule 34 and was tackled immediately.
“There was no doubt tonight that we controlled the line of scrimmage,” said Mule coach David Wood. “Our offensive and defensive lines were the Players of the Game for us. When that happens it makes winning a lot easier.”
“We were able to get all the kids in the game and everyone of them made a contribution to the win. I do not remember a night like this one by our team. The kids played well the whole game and they never let down or even took a play off.”
“Tomorrow we will start working on getting ready for Childress. I just do not know how to practice for that three-hour bus ride.”
Danny Campos tossed a short pass to Josh Lopez coming out of the backfield. Lopez went for 16 yards on first down. Lopez followed that with a six-yard run up the middle. Braden Bessire ran a five-yard button hook route and Campos delivered him the ball.
Bessire turned and powered his way for six more yards and a first down. Lopez made runs of four and five yards. Cristian Paez plowed up the middle for two yards and a first down. A motion penalty cost the Mules five yards on first down.
Campos then hit Keagan Gonzales running a crossing route over the middle for 11 yards. Lopez took the option pitch from Campos to the Friona one-yard line. Paez scored on the Hammer play to put the Mules ahead to stay with 6:53 remaining in the first quarter. Guerrero tacked on the point after for a 7-0 Mule lead.
The Chiefs were flagged for holding on the ensuing kickoff and that backed Friona up to the Chief 10. A motion penalty cost Friona five more yards before a play could be run. Franco and Kevin Mendoza teamed up for the stop after a three-yard gain on first down.
Bessire cost the Chiefs a yard on second down. Mendoza was closing rapidly on the Friona quarterback so he chose to throw the ball away on third down. The Friona punter kicked his own man in the back and Tony Vasquez covered the ball on the Friona 14.
The Mules could not push the ball across the goal line so Guerrero was asked to split the uprights from 20-yards out. The field goal gave the Mules a 10-0 lead with 3:17 remaining in the first quarter.
It was three and out for the Chieftains and were forced to punt to the Mule 43.
Gonzales took over at quarterback and for the Mules. He kept the ball on first down and rambled 11 yards on first down. Gonzales first pass bounced around like a pin ball before Florez got in the fray and claimed it for the Mules at the Friona 34. A wide-receiver screen pass to Tre Villa went for seven yards and ended the first quarter.
A holding penalty backed the Mules up the Friona 37. An incomplete pass on first down left the Mules facing third down and needing 13 yards for a first down. Lopez took off out of the backfield as if expecting a swing pass from Gonzales to draw the linebackers out of the middle of the field.
Gonzales took a couple of steps back and then headed up the middle on a quarterback draw. Isaac Luebanos blocked the Texas heavy weight power lifting champion to the outside and James Lutz pushed the nose guard to the inside.
Gonzales raced through the gaping hole. Jaxon Lee beat him down field and blocked the only man that had a chance of tackling Gonzales. Gonzales scored on the 37-yard sprint. Guerrero added the point after for a 17-0 Mule lead with 11:32 remaining in the half.
The Mules huddle before every kickoff and rather than breaking the huddle raced toward the ball as a group. They all came to a halt except for Villa. He came circling out of the back of the huddle toward the Mule sideline.
The Mules just stood still for a count of three before Guerrero stepped forward and lofted the ball 10-yards down field but angling toward the Mule sideline. The Chiefs had frozen when the Mules stopped. The ball’s first bounce was on the midfield stripe in front of the Mule bench.
Villa easily beat everyone to the ball and claimed it for the Mules at the Friona 45. Campos tossed to Gonzales five-yards down field. Florez made a block that allowed Gonzales to gain four additional yards.
Lee and Dustin Smith pulled to lead Lopez through the hole. Lopez cut behind the duo and scooted 21 yards to the Friona 15. Lopez then took the option pitch from Campos for eight yards.
Luebanos and Dunham pulled and led Campos through the line. Luebanos took out two Chieftains and Dunham was left with no one to block until Campos had reached the end zone. Guerrero’s extra point kick increased the Mule lead to 24-0.
The Mules were not through and scored for the third time on an eight-play 52-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard TD run by Lopez with 4:18 still in the second period.
Thirty-one seconds before the half ended the Mules completed a seven-play 95-yard drive with a Campos to Gonzales five-yard toss in the end zone. Guerrero added the point after for a 38-0 Mule lead.
Gonzales scored his second rushing TD of the night with a four-yard run. That capped a 10-play 75-yard drive. Guerrero’s kick gave the Mules a 45-0 lead.
Ryder White intercepted his first pass of the season at the Friona 46. The Mules worked their way to the Friona 12 in six plays. Needing six yards for a first down the decision was made to call on Guerrero to kick a second field goal.
Guerrero again parted the uprights with the ball for a 48-0 Mule lead with just less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Saul Sanchez converted a broken play into a 70-yard touchdown run on the first play of the final quarter. The wrong personnel were in the game for the play that was called. Sanchez was determined to make the best of the situation.
He took the snap and started to his right but found his path blocked by Chieftains. Sanchez reversed his field and Luebanos made a block to allow him to begin his journey back across the field.
Smith had chopped a player when the play start but had to scramble to his feet and block the same player plus he took out a second Chief with the same block. Cristian Lopez came back to start building a wall for Sanchez to run behind.
Three more Mules recognized Sanchez plight and came to lengthen the wall until only one Chief had a chance to catch him. JJ Gandara made the final block to set Sanchez free. Guerrero’s kick ended the Mules’ scoring with 11:34 remaining in the game.
Friona’s only score came on a one-yard run by Chico to cap a 10-play 51-yard drive. Luke Mata added the point after for Friona.
The Mules had a total offense of 548 yards. Three Mules rushed for 100 yards or more and seven Mules had carries. Keagan Gonzales had a busy night. He rushed eight times for 111 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 76 yards with one being for a TD and was five of six passing for 47 yards.
Saul Sanchez rushed five times for 100 yards and a touchdown and was one of three passing for 21 yards. Josh Lopez continued his string of 100-yard games with 12 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 24 yards. Danny Campos made eight runs for 23 yards and a touchdown. He also was eight of 13 passing for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Cristian Paez carried six times for 22 yards and a touchdown as well as made one reception for 21 yards. Braden Bessire rushed once for eight yards, caught one pass for 11 yards and Jorge Martinez carried twice for seven yards. Tony Vasquez made two catches for 25 yards, Jason Florez caught one for 11 yards and Tre Villa made two receptions for nine yards.
The Mule defense held Friona to 113 total yards with 107 being on the ground and six yards through the air. Gabrial Chico was held to 44 yards on 11 carries. Only two receivers caught passes.
Roman Franco led the defense with nine tackles with three being on special teams. Kevin Mendoza made eight stops with two being for losses, one on special teams and one quarterback hurry. Javy Perez had seven tackles with two being on special teams and broke up one pass.
Nate Rosas made seven stops with two being on special teams. Dagen Dunham made six tackles with one being for a loss and had two quarterback hurries. Issac Acosta had six tackles with two being on special teams.
Tony Vasquez made three tackles with one being on special teams and intercepted two passes. Ryder White and Tre Villa intercepted one pass each.
The 2-0 Mules will make the longest drive during district to Childress Friday night to play the 1-1 Bobcats.