Mules vs. Littlefield (11-6-2015)
The Mule defense made a goal line stand during the final two minutes of the first half. That defensive stand ignited a three-touchdown run by the Mules for a 42-25 win over Littlefield in the “War on 84” game.
The Littlefield Wildcats had driven the ball to the Mule five-yard line with time running out in the first half. A Wildcat score would have given Littlefield its first lead of the game.
Chris Douglas pounded forward for two yards before Kevin Mendoza and Tony Castillo stopped him at the Mule three. Douglas then tried the left side but Cameron Hardwick and Jose Mendoza met him a yard behind the line for a loss.
Bryson Calaway kept up the middle on a quarterback sneak on third down. Jaxon Lee, K. Mendoza and Donavan Gutierrez only allowed him to gain two yards to the Mule two.
On fourth down, Gutierrez shot the gap between the center and guard to hit Calaway as he pitched the football to Douglas. Douglas secured the ball but Hardwick was in the backfield to trip him up. Tony Vasquez absorbed Douglas’ momentum before he could stumble into the end zone, secured his arms to prevent him from extending the ball toward the goal line and forced him to the turf.
“That goal line stand turned the game in our favor,” said Mule coach David Wood. “We had talked all week about not wanting to share the District Championship gold ball. We wanted it for ourselves.”
“Tonight was the icing on the cake for our kids. They never let down all season and took the games one at a time. The War on 84 certainly lived up to its billing.”
The Mule offense took over on downs at the Mule two-inch line with 1:35 remaining in the first half with no time outs remaining. Danny Campos sent three Mule receivers wide right and Castillo all alone wide to the left. Castillo appeared to be running a slant over the middle but cut up field and ran by the safety.
Campos delivered Castillo the ball at the Mule 24. Castillo had turned to catch the ball and was hit. He spun away from the defender and reached the Mule 43 before he was forced out of bounds.
Josh Lopez slashed straight up field and cut left behind a block by Jaxon Lee. Jason Florez and Vasquez made blocks to open the gate to the Wildcat 43. The Mules demonstrated some razzle-dazzle with a double reverse. Florez took the final hand off and cut up field. Dominik Hasley and Castillo were blocking downfield to allow Florez to reach the Wildcat 11.
Lee and Hardwick blasted a hole in the Wildcat defensive line that Lopez raced through for eight yards. Campos gained a first down at the Littlefield one-yard line. Campos then fired a bullet to Florez running a slant for a one-yard TD to give the Mules a 17-11 advantage with 14 seconds left in the half.
The 99 yard plus scoring drive involved six plays that the Mules ran off in one minute 21 seconds.
The pumped up Mules returned to the field in the third quarter and Campos and Florez hooked up for two more TDs from 14 and 21 yards out to give the Mules a 29-11 lead with 2:35 on the clock in the third quarter.
The Wildcats attempted a comeback by scoring on a four-yard run by Jr. Enriquez that trimmed the Mule lead to 29-17.
The Mules got that touchdown back early in the fourth period with Campos tossing to four-yard strike to Dagen Dunham. Bryce Mauricio tacked on the point after for a 36-17 Mule lead. The Mules were attempting to deplete the clock and used up over three minutes on the 47-yard scoring drive.
The Mules ate up almost four and a half minutes on a 50-yard nine-play scoring drive later in the quarter. Campos capped off the drive with his sixth TD pass. He tossed a 25-yard strike to Tre Villa to end the Mules’ scoring at 42-17.
Littlefield’s final touchdown was a nine-yard run with three minutes remaining in the game.
The first 22 minutes of the game were a shootout with the Mules only having the ball four times in the first half. The Mules kicked off to start the game and Littlefield returned the kick to the Wildcat 35.
Aaryn Ross broke up a pass on third down to force the Wildcats to punt. The ball rolled dead at the Mule 17. It took the Mules just five plays to score the game’s first TD.
The Mules needed four yards on third down. The Mules came set in a two-tight end formation. Campos rolled to his right as Castillo ran a deep slant over the middle. Campos dropped the ball in Castillo’s hands as he ran between the safeties and galloped to the end zone with 7:27 left in the first period.
Campos attacked the line of scrimmage from the Swinging Gate formation and dumped the ball over the defense to Javy Perez for the two-point conversion to put the Mules ahead 8-0.
Following the Mule kickoff the Wildcats drove from the Littlefield 36 to the Mule 11 in eight plays. The Mule defense tightened up and forced the Wildcats to settle for a 28-yard field goal to trail the Mules 8-3 with 2:37 on the clock in the first quarter.
The Mules got the field goal back driving from the Mule 31 to the Wildcat six before Mauricio booted a 23-yard field goal.
The Wildcats made a touchdown on a Calaway four-yard pass to Douglas to tie the game at 11-11 with 9:20 left in the first half.
The Mules rolled up 490 yards of offense with 199 being on the ground and 291 yards via the air ways. Campos was 17 of 24 passing for 290 yards, six touchdowns and was intercepted once.
Paez rushed 14 times for 105 yards and caught two passes for 28 yards. Lopez carried six times for 44 yards. Florez led the Mules in receiving with eight catches for 91 yards, three TDs and he rushed twice for 40 yards.
Castillo made four receptions to lead all receivers with 132 yards and one touchdown. Villa had two catches for 26 yards and Dunham made two receptions for 14 yards.
The Mule defense gave up 346 yards to the Wildcats with 339 being on the ground and seven yards through the air. Nate Herrera led all rushers with 26 attempts for 146 yards.
Jose Mendoza led the Mule defense with 11 tackles with one being for a loss and four coming on special teams. Mario Flores made 10 tackles and caused and recovered a fumble. Tony Vasquez had 10 tackles, Donovan Gutierrez made eight stops and Javy Perez had eight tackles.
Tony Castillo made seven tackles with one being for a loss. Cameron Hardwick had seven tackles with three being for losses and had two quarterback hurries. Kevin Mendoza made six tackles with one being for a loss and had one quarterback hurry.
Dagen Dunham had six tackles with one being for a loss. Dominik Hasley recorded six tackles with one being for a loss.
The Mules will play the Slaton Tigers in the Bi-District round of the Texas State Playoffs in Frenship’s Tiger Stadium at 7:00 PM Thursday evening.