9th Mules vs. Childress (9-15-2016)
Everyone from USA Olympic Champion Swimmer, Michael Phelps, to Lucy of the Charles Schultz Peanut cartoon fame have been credited with the often used adage, “It is not how you start that counts, it is how you finish”.
The Freshmen Mules proved there is a lot of merit in that statement Thursday night when they hosted the Childress Bobcats. The Mules fell behind early in the first quarter in what quickly became a defensive battle.
But the Mules finally took the lead with 1:25 left in the opening quarter. Jose Cardenas ripped the ball out of the hands of a Childress runner and raced 25 yards for a touchdown. Matthew Alarcon added the two-point conversion for a 14-8 Mule lead.
The Mules never looked back after that and went on to defeat the Bobcats 42-8.
Both teams turned the ball over on downs, then the Mules fumbled before Jimmy Villa intercepted a Bobcat pass at the Mule 14-yard line. But the Bobcats returned the favor with an interception and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown with 4:30 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion was good and the Mules trailed 8-0.
Cristian Bustillos returned the ensuing kickoff 17 yards to the Mule 44-yard line. The Mule offense began to click with Jesus Montiel taking a pitch wide right nine yards before being stripped of the ball. Cardenas fell on the ball for the Mules at the 50-yard line.
Montiel made a block to pave the way for his quarterback, Alarcon, to pick up 10 yards. Montiel carried left and broke a tackle for a 20-yard gain to the Bobcat 20. He then powered up the middle for seven more yards.
Alarcon found Cardenas open five yards deep in the end zone with the Mules first touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed and the Mules trailed 8-6 with 1:41 left in the first period.
Nathan Rodriguez kicked off to the Childress end zone and the Bobcats did not return the ball. Cardenas stole the ball from the Bobcats and returned it 25 yards for the Mules’ second touchdown just 16 seconds after their first TD. The Mules led 14-8 when the first period ended.
Steven Atwood plugged up the middle and Elio Sanchez and Eddie Vasquez made the tackle on third down. Cardenas made the tackle on fourth down to force the Bobcats to turn the ball over on downs.
Alarcon connected with Cardenas over the middle for a 29-yard gain to the Childress 19. The offensive line opened a hole for Montiel in the middle of the Bobcat line. He then cut to the Mule sideline for a 19-yard touchdown run with 4:35 remaining in the first half. The Mules led 20-8.
Following the Mule kickoff Sanchez broke up a pass by batting it away from the intended receiver. Vasquez put pressure on the Childress quarterback, then leaped high in the air and batted down the pass. Bustillos diagnosed a screen pass and tackled the receiver for a five-yard loss to force the Bobcats to punt.
The Childress punter boomed the punt to the Mule 34 where Cardenas gathered it in and scampered 15 yards to near midfield.
Alarcon kept the ball for a nine-yard run around the right side. Montiel then pounded up the middle for four yards. Alarcon scooted up the middle for five yards to the Childress 31.
The Mules capped the drive with a swing pass from Alarcon to Montiel running out of the backfield with 1:40 left in the half. Alarcon passed to Bustillos in the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 28-8 Mule lead.
The Mules struggled to hang on to the ball in the third period giving up fumble and an interception. But the Mule defense refused to allow the Bobcats to score on the turnovers.
Fernando Rivas made first contact on a Childress fourth down and needing three yards. The Mule defense held the Bobcats for no gain and took over the ball on downs at the Mule 48.
The Mules scored on the final play of the third quarter with a 35 yard pass and run from Alarcon to Cardenas. Cardenas tossed to Villa for the two-point conversion to lead the Bobcats 34-8 after three quarters.
The Mules final score came on a 14-yard run up the middle by Cardenas.
Alarcon went 13 of 19 pass attempts for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed 12 times for 65 yards. Montiel carried 19 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Cardenas carried twice for 15 yards and caught six passes for 119 yards. He scored on two receptions, rushed for one and scored one defensive touchdown.
Cardenas led the Mules with eight tackles, caused a fumble and recovered a fumble. Bustillos, Montiel, Rivas and Sanchez each made four tackles. Villa picked off two passes.
The Mules go on the road to Idalou Thursday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM.