Mules vs. Levelland (8-29-16)
The Muleshoe Mules opened their season with a loss. They went down to defeat to the Levelland Lobos in Lobo Stadium Friday night 56-31. The Lobos scored 28 points in the first half and repeated that feat in the second half.
The scoreboard did not show the whole story as far as Mule fans were concerned. The Mules out gained the Lobos 441 yards to 433. Beto Diaz completed 24 or 40 passing attempts for 337 yards and threw three touchdowns. Diaz led the Mules in rushing with 24 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Jason Florez caught 10 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Chris Gerber, sophomore brother of the Lobo quarterback, Nick Gerber, led all rushers with 13 carries for 106 yards. Senior quarterback, N. Gerber, completed 17 of 28 passes for 246 yards and six touchdowns.
“We were pretty tight when the game started,” said Mule coach, David Wood. “It took a most of the first period for us to get started.”
“We made some mistakes that Levelland turned into points but our kids continued to play hard. We will work on putting this game behind us, cut down on our errors and be ready to go next Friday night against Snyder.”
Levelland won the toss and chose to kickoff to the Mules. Diaz’s throw over the middle was intended for Romeo Reyes but bounced off his shoulder pads and was picked off by the Lobos.
It only took the Lobos three plays to score from eight yards out with C. Gerber carrying the final five yards. The kick was good and the Lobos led 7-0 with 9:17 left in the first period.
Tre Villa returned the ensuing Levelland kickoff to the Mule 26. It was three and out for the Mules with Diaz quick kicking on fourth down and the ball rolled dead on the Lobo 38.
The Gerber brothers combined for 28 yards of the 68-yard scoring drive. N. Gerber connected with Jeffery Elliot for the final 16 yards of the drive. The kick was good to give the Lobos a 14-0 lead over the Mules with 7:31 remaining in the first period.
After the Lobos kicked off and a short return the Mules started on the Mule 13-yard line. Diaz kept up the middle for six yards. He then tossed to Mario “Boo” Flores as he streaked down the sideline for 21 yards.
The Mules made the most of a free play when the Lobos jumped offside. The fade was slightly under thrown and was picked off by a Lobo. Florez reached in and ripped the ball away from the defender, broke a tackle and was finally pulled down after a 39-yard gain.
Diaz kept and rolled wide left for 17 yards to the Lobo 10. On first down, Florez raced straight down field, faked the flag route and broke back to the post. His defender bit on the fake and Florez scooped the ball off his shoe tops at the goal line for a touchdown.
The kick was no good and the Mules trailed 14-6 with just over a minute and a half remaining in the first period.
Michael Lozano kicked off for the Mules to the Lobo 34. Yoel Reyes and Jorge Albarran teamed up for the stop at the Lobo 39.
Moises Vazquez flushed N. Gerber out of the pocket and forced him to make a bad throw that Isaac Mendoza was able to leap high into the air and tip the ball to himself for an interception.
The Mules seemed to be on their way to pay dirt but stalled out on the Lobo 17 and turned the ball over on downs.
Levelland traveled 83 yards in seven plays and scored on an eight-yard toss from N. Gerber to Daniel Hurn to take a 21-6 lead over the Mules.
Villa returned the ensuing kickoff up the middle to the Mule 34. Diaz rolled toward the short side of the field and cut up a crease in the defense for nine yards. A low snap on second down forced Diaz to pick the ball up off the turf and scramble up field for two yards and a first down.
A hot pass to Flores resulted in a 27-yard gain. Diaz kept up the middle for four more yards. Interference was called on the Lobos when they hit Romeo before the ball arrived. The penalty gave the Mules a first down on the Lobo 11.
Diaz scooted left for six yards and then kept up the middle for the final five yards needed for a touchdown. Arturo Contreras kick was good and the Mules cut the Lobo lead to 21-13.
Jamie Ceja raced down field to dump the Lobo return man at the Lobo 36. Dominik Hasley stepped in the running land and made the tackle after a one-yard gain. Carlos Meza followed suit with a stop for only two yards. An incomplete pass forced the Lobos to punt for the first time. The ball rolled dead on the Mule 27.
Diaz started left and pitched back to Florez for the reverse that fooled the Lobos for a 15-yard gain. Diaz kept up the middle for eight yards and then scrambled for four more yards on the next play.
Tim Perez broke up the middle for 11 yards before Diaz scrambled right for four yards. Diaz connected with Florez running a bubble screen and Meza made the block to free Florez for a 21-yard scamper. Florez was ripped backwards by his collar and the flag came out to give the Mules a first and goal from the Lobo five-yard line.
Reyes was hit before he could make the catch in the end zone. A penalty flag was thrown and the Mules had a first down on the Lobo one-yard line. Diaz scoot wide left and scored behind blocks behind Perez and Villa. The kick was low and Florez scrambled right but was run out of bounds and the Mules trailed 21-19 with 5:19 remaining in the first half.
Lozano kicked the ball down field and it scooted between the legs of one return man and the second just fell on it at the Lobo 23.
A motion penalty backed the Lobos up five yards. Y. Reyes made the stop of a hot pass after a five-yard gain. Flores forced a third down with five yards needed for a first down with a tackle. Villa came back and broke in front of the Lobo receiver to break up the third down toss. The Lobo punt was killed on the Lobo 49 after the punt took a Mule bounce.
A bubble screen to Florez went for nine yards. Diaz kept left for 10 yards to the Lobo 30. The Mule offense sputtered to a halt on four straight incomplete passes. The Lobos took over on downs at the Lobo 30.
An interference call on the Mules followed by a big play advanced the Lobos to the Mule 23. A 12-yard pass, a two-yard run followed by a nine-yard TD pass pushed the Lobos ahead of the Mules 28-13 with 50 seconds left in the first half.
That drive seemed to take the wind out of the Mules’ sails and it carried over to the second half. The Lobos scored three more times in the third quarter and once to start the final quarter before the Mules snapped out of their funk trailing the Lobos 56-19 with 11:10 remaining in the final frame.
When the Mules came to life they drove 72 yards on 13 plays capped off with Diaz tossing to Florez for an 18-yard touchdown to cut the margin to 56-25.
Diaz and Florez teamed up one more time to cap a six-play 80-yard drive with a 26-yard scoring pass that ended the night's scoring. The Lobos never pulled their starting defense.
The Mules are preparing for the Snyder Tigers. It is the first meeting between the two teams since the Tigers dispatched the Mules from the playoffs on Lubbock’s Lowery Field.