Mules vs. Seagraves (9-11-2015)
It was almost like the scene from the sports movie ‘Hoosiers’ Friday night. The Mules were the beneficiary of one final play following a defensive penalty on what had appeared to be the final play of the game.
A time out was called and the Mules huddled around their coach, David Wood. By using a certain amount of imagination the fans may have thought they heard Bryce Mauricio tell Coach Wood, “I will make it Coach.”
No one in the stands actually heard him say it but Coach Wood heard his players telling him that Bryce (Mauricio) could make the 28-yard field goal. Wood agreed and sent Mauricio in to attempt the field goal.
Mauricio took the field and after Danny Campos spotted the tee, Mauricio lined up the kick and stepped off his approach. Campos called for the ball, placed it on the tee and Mauricio split the uprights for the 39-36 Mule win over the highly rated Seagraves Eagles.
“I was not sure we had a kicker for Friday night after we had lost ours early in the week,” said Coach Wood. “We had three players practicing kicking but we had prepared to go for the two-conversion after we scored. I felt the guys needed another week of practice before kicking in a game.”
“Bryce had been kicking off for us during the game and was putting the ball where I asked him to place it. The team believed in him also so I made the decision to go for the field goal.”
Coach Wes Wood told Mauricio just before the Mules broke the huddle, “Just relax. The worst that can happen if you miss is that we win it in overtime.”
Mauricio showed no emotion as he methodically went about preparing for the winning kick. After the ball went between the standards he began to stride off the field with even less emotion being displayed. The same can not be said for his teammates as they began to celebrate and then brought Mauricio into the growing number of celebrating Mules on the field.
The Mule won the toss and kicked off to the Eagles. Mario Flores made the tackle at the Eagle 33. A high snap on first down cost the Eagles 15 yards. The Mules held and forced a punt that rolled out of bounds on the Mule 45.
The Mules worked their way toward the Eagle end zone with the help of a 20-yard pass and run from Campos to Tony Castillo running a slant over the middle. Josh Lopez then found a running lane up the middle for 14 yards.
A screen pass to Jason Florez was good for 11 yards. Dagen Dunham and Aaryn Ross opened the way down field for Florez. Lopez then powered up the middle to the Seagraves one-yard line. Campos dove over for the Mules first touchdown with 8:06 left in the first period.
Campos attacked the line of scrimmage from the Swinging Gate and tossed to Dunham for the two-point conversion for an 8-0 Mule lead.
The Mule defense stepped up after the Eagles made a first down at the Mule 15. Jose Mendoza tripped up premier Eagle running back, Cory Kyle, on first down and Donavan Gutierrez applied the finishing touches.
Rigo Rivas and Javy Perez flew to the ball on third down to make the stop a yard short of a first down. The Eagle quarterback fumbled the snap on fourth down at the Mule six. The Mules took over on downs.
The Mules gave the ball back to the Eagles with a fumble at the Mule 37.
Dunham managed to leap high in the air while being blocked and batted down an Eagle pass with his big left hand. But that was not enough and the Eagles would not be denied and scored early in the second period to tie the score at 8-8 with 10:19 remaining in the first half.
The Mules returned the ensuing kick to the Mule 21. Campos tossed to Tre Villa for a 31-yard gain to midfield. Campos tossed to Florez on a screen pass for 18 yards. Castillo was Campos next target at the Eagle five. Castillo avoided a defender and scooted in from five yards out.
Campos again found Dunham for the two-point conversion and the Mules led 16-8 with 7:48 remaining in the first half.
The Eagles again tied the game on a two-yard run by Kyle. Kyle then added the two-point conversion with just under four minutes still on the clock in the half.
Florez received the Eagle kickoff on the Seagraves side of the field and returned the ball back toward the center of the field. Villa raced toward Florez. Florez pitched the ball to Villa for a reverse that caught the Eagles flat footed.
Villa split the defense behind a block by Ross and raced behind a wall of Mule blockers to the Mule 40. Campos connected with Dunham for a six yard gain. The Campos to Florez screen pass was working for the Mules.
Castillo and Dunham provided blocks and Florez forced a defender to miss before he raced 54 yards for a touchdown. The two-play 60-yard drive only took 42 seconds off the clock. A Campos to Ross pass in the end zone gave the Mules a 24-16 advantage with 3:03 still in the half.
Cameron Hardwick dropped Kyle for a single yard on first down following the Eagle return to the Seagraves 45. Jaxon Lee wrapped up the Eagle quarterback after a short gain on second down. Dunham again showed his hops as he leaped and knocked down the pass with his left hand. The Eagle punt rolled dead on the Mule 27.
Lopez gained three yards on first down. The Campos to Florez screen connection was still hot. Hardwick made a block at the line of scrimmage for Florez before an Eagle missed a tackle opportunity. Kevin Mendoza provided a block 10-yards down field to set Florez free for a 70-yard TD pass and run.
The conversion failed but the Mules owned a 30-16 lead with a just over a minute left in the half.
The Eagles quickly marched down field and scored on a 28-yard toss over the middle to Kyle. Jose Mendoza circled the outside blockers and leaped in front of the holder to block the point-after kick. The Mules lead had been cut to 30-22 at the intermission.
The Mules only touchdown of the second half came on a Campos to Villa 37-yard scoring toss. The two-point conversion was short. The Mules led 36-22 with 4:32 remaining in the third quarter.
The Eagles gathered some momentum in final period and scored twice to tie the game at 36-36 with 4:19 left in the game.
Dylan Miller and Gutierrez combined for a stop on third down of what proved to be the Eagles final drive. Tony Vasquez made the tackle leaving the Eagles two-yards short of a first on fourth down. The Mules took over on downs at the Mule 34.
Campos tossed to Florez for 12 yards on first down. Florez made a catch on third down and ran over one defender for an extra 10 yards to the Eagle 13. Campos then scrambled up the middle for eight more yards.
Seagraves brought the house and Campos was again forced to scramble. He fumbled when he was hit from behind but the ball rolled out of bounds at the Eagle 18. The Mules lost five more yards on a motion penalty.
Only :02.2 seconds were left in the game when the Mules lined up on fourth down and needed 26 yards for a touchdown. Campos saw Castillo about to come open in the end zone when he launched his final pass.
The Eagle defender realized he was beaten and reached back and drug Castillo to the turf before the ball arrived. A flag was immediately thrown. The penalty was stepped off and the Mules had one final opportunity to score before the game went to overtime.
“In 20 years of coaching,” continued Wood. “I had never won a game on a last second field goal. We have tried a few times but it never worked out. This just gives us another arrow in our quiver.”
The Mules finished the night with 479 total yards of offense. Campos completed 27 of 37 attempts for 415 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another. The Mules rushed for 64 more yards. Lopez led the Mules in rushing with nine attempts for 43 yards and made two receptions for 49 yards.
Florez led the Mules in receiving with 11 catches for 221 yards and two TDs. Villa caught five passes for 102 yards and one touchdown. Castillo had five receptions for 53 yards and one TD. Three other Mules combined for four receptions for 20 yards.
The Mule defense held the Eagles to 301 yards with 183 being on the ground and 118 coming through the air. Kyle was held to 117 yards rushing on 28 attempts. He also caught three passes for 65 yards. Kyle rushed for two touchdowns and made one receiving.
Gutierrez led the Mules with 17 tackles and caused a fumble. Ross also had 17 tackles with six being on special teams. Mendoza made 15 stops with three being on special teams and blocked a kick. Hardwick finished with 15 tackles, one being for a loss and one quarterback hurry.
Perez had 13 tackles and made an interception. Dunham made 11 tackles, had a quarterback hurry and blocked two passes. Tony Vasquez had 11 stops with two on special teams.
The Perryton Rangers will visit Benny Douglas Stadium Friday night. It is the Muleshoe High School’s Homecoming celebration and the bonfire will be held about sundown Thursday evening. The Homecoming Queen will be crowned during half time of the game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM.