Mules vs. Breckenridge - Area Round Football (11-20-2015)
The Mules took the best the Breckenridge Buckaroos had to give for just over one half of football Friday night. But the Mules took advantage of four Buckaroo fumbles in the second half to win the Area Championship Friday night in Big Spring’s Memorial Stadium 31-20.
“It was hard tonight,” said Mule coach David Wood. “We did not have our best game and could have just hung it up when we got behind 20-8 to start the second half. But our kids just continued to fight and finally things began to go our way.”
“We felt like they were wearing down in the second half and that is unusual in the playoffs. Our running game began to gain yards and our defense just made stop and stop to keep them from scoring. Our defense then forced turnover after turnover that gave us opportunities to score.”
“Our kids have heart.”
The Bucks jumped in front of the Mules, 7-0, on the third play of the game with a 64-yard run by Quinton Ellis. Just one minute and 27 seconds had expired in the game.
The Mules took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the Bucks’ 11-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The Bucks fumbled a pitch into the end zone but recovered the ball. Javy Perez was nearest the ball for the Mules and was credited with the safety to cut the Buck lead to 7-2 with 7:17 remaining in the first period.
The Mules drove 55 yards to the Breckenridge 15 before stalling out for the second time of the game.
Dunham and Cameron Hardwick sacked the Buck quarterback on the first play of the second period to force Breckenridge to punt. Jason Florez returned the punt to the Mule 11.
The defensive battle continued through the second period. Cade Cornett scored for the Bucks on a five-yard run up the middle to give the Bucks a 13-2 lead over the Mules with 44 seconds left in the half.
Florez returned the ensuing Buck kickoff 30 yards to the Mule 35 with just 38.5 seconds left in the second period. Danny Campos connected with Aaryn Ross on first down for seven yards.
Evan Paez went up the middle for 10 yards. Then an interference penalty was called on the Bucks. The resulting penalty moved the Mules ahead 15 yards to the Breckenridge 33. Campos emptied the backfield on first down and had to buy time with his feet before stepping up in the pocket to launch a bomb to the end zone.
Florez fought through an early tackle attempt in the end zone to make the catch with no time left in the first half. The Mules trailed Breckenridge 13-8 at the intermission.
“This was the craziest game we played in this year,” said Mule quarterback Danny Campos. “They were a good football team and really gave us a run for our money but we came out on top. That is the way Muleshoe football is, we just have a lot of heart.”
“They did not leave much time to score at the end of the first half. We just tried to relax and worked the ball down the field. Coach (Wes) Wood told me to throw it in the end zone for a touchdown. Fortunately Jason (Florez) was there for us and battled for the ball.”
The Mules received the second half kickoff but could not get their offense untracked and was forced to punt to the Buck 37.
It only took the Bucks five plays to increase their lead 20-8 with a 27-yard TD run by Jordan McDonald. There was 8:41 still on the clock in the third period. That proved to be the final time the Bucks would score in the game.
Ross returned the Buck kickoff 13 yards to the Mule 37. Jose Mendoza scooted through a gap in the Buck defense for 45 yards. An offside penalty plus a defensive holding penalty advanced the Mules to the Buck eight-yard line. Evan Paez pounded forward for two yards.
The Mules were facing fourth down and needing six yards for a touchdown. Tre Villa went in motion left across the Mule backfield and Campos took the deep snap and rolled left. Dunham was the tight end on the right side of the Mule line. He dove at the feet of the linebacker, rolled and jumped to his feet and backed toward the end zone.
Campos pulled up, turned and tossed to Dunham one-yard deep in the end zone. Bryce Mauricio booted the extra point to cut the Buck lead to 20-15 with 3:07 still in the third period.
Vasquez kickoff went high in the air and the Bucks called for a fair catch at the Breckenridge 37. Dunham made the stop on first down after a Buck three-yard gain. A motion penalty backed the Bucks up five yards.
A holding penalty on third down pushed the Bucks back to the Breckenridge 32. Conner Harrison and Dominik Hasley sacked the quarterback for a six-yard loss to force the Bucks to punt.
Villa returned the punt 13 yards to the Mule 44. Campos tossed to Mauricio running a hitch route for five yards. Paez battled up the middle for six yards and a first down. The Mules could not gain a second first down and Campos booted a quick kick that was rolling downfield at the Buck 13.
A Buck attempted to block Tony Castillo away from the ball. Castillo took advantage of the opportunity and pushed the Buck into the ball and then alertly dove on the ball at the Buck 10.
Campos rewarded Castillo with a 10-yard TD toss that put the Mules on top to stay at 21-20 with 1:34 remaining in the third period.
Jesse Easley brought down the Breckenridge return man at the Buck 37. Cornett carried the ball four consecutive times and advanced the Bucks to the Mule 43. The Bucks changed to the Shotgun formation on the first play of the fourth period.
The formation change confused the center and he centered the ball straight up rather than back and never reached Cornett. Castillo was there to cover the loose ball for the Mules.
A holding penalty set the Mules back to the Mule 31. Campos was forced to scramble for two yards on first down. Campos kept on the option play for seven yards on second down. The Mules needed 11 yards on third down to keep the drive alive.
Mauricio put a double move on his defender to find an opening in the defense. Campos launched the pass and Mauricio had to hit the jets to catch up to the ball at the Buck 28. He was forced out of bounds for a 21-yard gain to the Buck 19.
Ross ran a hitch pattern route and Campos delivered the ball for an eight yard gain. The Mules stalled out and turned the ball over on downs at the Breckenridge 13.
Dunham and Harrison plugged the hole and the ball was jarred loose. Harrison claimed the ball for the Mules at the Buck 18.
J. Mendoza took the deep snap and scooted up the middle for six yards. Campos gave Paez the ball on second down. Paez avoided one tackler then cut up field to the Buck three-yard line.
Dunham set up as the sniffer back and shuffled behind the Mule offensive line. He stopped behind Kevin Mendoza and took the direct snap. Dunham followed K. Mendoza to the end zone. Mauricio added the point after for a 28-20 Mule lead with 5:33 left in the game.
Vasquez kicked off and the ball went off the hands of a Buck and seven yards deep in the end zone. The Buck brought the ball out of the end zone and was met by a herd of Mules at the Breckenridge five-yard line.
The Bucks ran two plays before the fumble bug bit again when the pitch from Cornett was behind the intended running back. Donavan Gutierrez beat everyone to the ball to set the Mules up on the Buck 32.
The Mules began to chew chunks of time off the clock. J. Mendoza carried up the middle on first down and then Campos kept wide right for 11 yards for a first down. J. Mendoza took a handoff up the middle for 10 yards but the Mules were still just short of a first down.
Dunham again shuffled behind the line and stopped behind K. Mendoza. The Mules froze in place as Campos called the signals. Two Bucks jumped offside and hit K. Mendoza. The resulting five-yard penalty gave the Mules a first down at the Breckenridge five.
The Mules ran the clock down to just under a minute before Mauricio split the uprights with a 19-yard field goal with 58 seconds left in the game.
The Bucks could mount no offense before time expired.
The Mule offense rolled up a total of 437 yards. The Mules rushed for 125 yards and passed for 312. Campos completed 22 of 38 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns and was intercepted once.
Paez rushed 12 times for 45 yards and caught three passes for 15 yards. J. Mendoza carried five times for 55 yards. Florez made four receptions for 54 yards and one TD. Villa had four catches for 61 yards and Mauricio snagged four passes for 50 yards. Castillo made two receptions for 72 yards and one touchdown. Dunham caught two passes for 18 yards and one TD. He also rushed twice for six yards and a touchdown.
The Mule defense gave up a total of 345 yards with 265 being on the ground and 80 via the air. Mario Flores led the Mule defense with 16 tackles and J. Mendoza was right behind him with 15 tackles.
Dunham made 11 stops, two for a loss and hurried the quarterback once. Gutierrez made ten tackles, had one tackle for a loss and caused or recovered a fumble. Perez recorded nine tackles and was credited with a safety.
The Mules will enjoy Thanksgiving before returning to Levelland’s Lobo Stadium where their season started. The Mules will play the Shallowater Mustangs in the Regional round of the Texas state football playoffs. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM Friday.