Mules vs. Friona (10-16-2015)
The Mules traveled north on Highway 214 to battle the Friona Chieftains Friday night. It was a contrast of two styles of football. The Mules utilize the Spread and keep the pedal-to-the-medal while the Chiefs prefer to the Single Wing and deplete the 40-second play clock down before snapping the ball.
The Mules have been averaging 112 plays per game on offense but against Friona their number of plays dropped to 60.
“It was like we only got to play half a game,” said Mule coach David Wood. “You could almost double all of our numbers and that is what we normally would have made. But we play the game as it comes each week and our kids don’t get frustrated or anxious.”
The Mules kicked off to start the game and Friona made a couple of first downs before Dagen Dunham batted down a pass on third down to force the Chiefs to punt.
The Friona deep snap to the punter was high and that gave Jose Mendoza time to cut in front of the punter to block the punt. Mario Flores attempted to scoop and score but was pulled down at the Friona 40.
Danny Campos connected with Dunham on a slant over the middle for seven yards. Campos then scooted up the middle for a first down at the Friona 30.
Campos then rolled right behind a block by Josh Lopez and fired a strike to Aaryn Ross running toward the Mule sideline. The pass was high and Ross leaped high for the catch and some how got his feet back down inbounds for a 10-yard gain.
Campos next rolled left and hit Tony Castillo for 16 yards at the Friona four-yard line. Dunham ran straight at his defender and Campos tossed him a back-shoulder pass. Dunham made a spinning one-handed grab for the Mules first touchdown with 8:05 remaining in the first quarter. The Mules led 6-0.
Following the Mule kickoff Friona gained a first down at the Chieftain 40. Dunham, Cameron Hardwick and Donavan Gutierrez sacked the Friona quarterback for a seven-yard loss. An incomplete pass forced Friona to punt.
The Mules allowed the ball to roll dead on the Mule 40. Campos rolled left under pressure. Jason Florez was running a fade down the sideline but recognized Campos was in trouble. Florez broke off his route and came back to make the reception for a 14-yard gain at the Friona 46.
Josh Lopez took a step to his right before cutting left on a counter play that resulted in a 21-yard gain. A holding penalty on the next play backed the Mules up to the Friona 35. Campos called the option play left and held on to the ball behind blocks by Hardwick and Jaxon Lee for a 35-yard TD. Bryce Mauricio booted the point after for a 13-0 Mule lead with 2:54 still on the clock in the first period.
Friona began a third drive on the Chiefs’ 30 and advanced the ball 10 yards for a first down at the Friona 40. Gutierrez and Hardwick rushed the Friona quarterback hard. He attempted to dump the ball to his running back for a screen pass just as Gutierrez and Hardwick hit him.
Dunham was in the right place at the right time and snagged the dieing quail as it dropped toward the deep turf at the Friona 33. Dunham jogged to the end zone for a defensive touchdown. Mauricio’s kick gave the Mules a 20-0 lead as the first period drew to a close.
The Mules added two more touchdowns in the second period. Campos connected with Florez with a 15-yard TD toss that capped an eight-play Mule drive with 8:49 remaining in the first half.
In the final minute of the first half Campos tossed a two-yard scoring pass to Tony Castillo to end a seven-play 72-yard drive. Mauricio’s point after gave the Mules a 34-0 Mule lead.
The Mules strung together an 11-play 80-yard drive that ended with Campos tossing a two-yard TD pass to Evan Paez for a 40-0 Mule lead with 3:33 left in the third period.
Mauricio ended all scoring with a 37-yard field goal in the final period with 1:40 left in the game.
The Mules rolled up a total of 351 yards Friday night and for the first time this season gained more yards on the ground than through the air. The Mules rushed for 230 yards and passed for 121.
Lopez had nine carries for 108 yards. Campos ran three times for 41 yards and a touchdown. He also completed 15 of 22 passes for 118 yards and four TDs to four different receivers.
Mendoza carried seven times for 39 yards. Paez rushed three times for 28 yards and caught three passes for 10 yards and a touchdown. Dunham carried twice for 14 yards and caught two passes for 13 yards and a TD. He also intercepted a pass for a touchdown.
Florez had four catches for 56 yards and one TD. Castillo made two receptions for 15 yards and a touchdown. Aaryn Ross had three catches for 14 yards and Villa had one reception for 12 yards.
The Mule defense held Friona to a total of 87 yards of offense. The Chiefs had thirty-one rushes for 80 yards and completed three of nine passing attempts for seven yards.
The 4-1, 2-0 Mules return home to the friendly confines of Benny Douglas Stadium Friday night to meet the 3-2, 2-0 Childress Bobcats. The winner of the game will have the lead in the District 1-3A.
The Mules two remaining games will be at Dimmitt and then close out the season at home against Littlefield. Childress will have games with River Road and Friona remaining.