Mules vs. Brownfield Cubs (9-9-2016)
In a pre-game interview, Mule coach David Wood said, “We are going against a D-1 quarterback that we must contain if we want to have a chance to win.” The Mules proved to be up to the task and never gave up a long running touchdown to Jaelyn Nolan.
Nolan is the 6-3, 180 pound elusive Cub quarter. He has an arm that can launch a 60-yard strike or if no receivers are open can pull down the ball and take off for 70 and 80 yard gains.
Nolan’s favorite target is Jezreel Griffin. He is a 6-4, 185 pound streak of lightning with sticky hands.
The Mules never blinked at the challenge of playing the Cubs on the road and brought home a 45-22 win. But they did not settle their coaches’ nerves until late in the fourth period.
“We had our chances early to put the game away,” continued Coach Wood. “But an interception that resulted in a touchdown for Brownfield just added to the pressure.”
Mikey Lozano kicked off for the Mules to the Cub 33 where Brownfield covered the ball. On the ensuing Cub drive, Nolan completed passes of 43 and 30 yards before Jason Florez stepped in front of the intended receiver at the goal line and was pulled down at the Mule five-yard line.
Two running plays and an offside penalty on the Cubs gave the Mules a first down at the Mule 19. A pass to Mario “Boo” Flores went for 22 yards. Beto Diaz then found a crease up the middle, slipped out of tackle at the Cub 40 and scooted to the Brownfield 14.
Tre Villa powered up the middle on a block by Carlos Meza. Villa was wrapped up at the Cub seven-yard line but continued to churn his legs and Fidel Mendoza pushed the pile ahead to the two-yard line.
Diaz pass that was intended for Dagen Dunham was picked off and returned to the Brownfield 22. Nolan launched a pass to Isiah Hood racing down the field at the Mule 45 and he motored into the Mule end zone for a touchdown. The PAT kick was off the mark and the Cubs led 6-0 with 4:46 left in the first period. The drive had lasted just 14 seconds.
Brownfield kicked off to the Mule 22 and the Mules could not mount a return.
A motion penalty set the Mules back five yards. Romeo Reyes made nine yards on a screen pass and Diaz gained three yards on a quarterback draw on third down. Diaz quick kicked rolled dead at the Cub nine-yard line.
The Cubs gained 10 yards on their first two plays of the drive. The Cub running back ran into a wall of Mules, Boo Flores, Dunham and Donovan Gutierrez, and the ball came loose. Boo Flores fell on the ball for the Mules.
The Mules reached the Cub four-yard line before running out of downs.
Nolan ended the first period with a 12-yard run for a first down at the Cub 16. The Cubs picked up a first down with screen pass. A run by Isaias Morin went for 28 yards to the Mule 28.
Dominik Hasley dropped Morin after a three-yard gain on first down. Two incomplete passes by Nolan and a penalty forced the Cubs to punt. The ball went into the Mule end zone.
Diaz hit Yoel Reyes with a pass for nine yards on first down. Diaz pump faked to Jason Florez to freeze the defense and allow Florez to zip down field for a finger-tip catch at the Mule 49. He then out ran the defense to the end zone for a 71-yard touchdown. Arturo Contreras booted the point after to give the Mules a 7-6 lead with 8:14 remaining in the first half.
It did not take the Cubs long to answer with a three-play 66-yard drive that ended on a one-yard run by Nolan. The drive took eight ticks over a minute off the clock. The two-point conversion was good and the Cubs led the Mules 14-7 with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Isaac Mendoza retuned the ensuing Cub kickoff to the Mule 43 with a 16-yard return. Villa gained nine yards on first down and Diaz went up the middle for nine more yards to the Cub 39.
Diaz connected over the middle with Florez for 16 yards and a first down at the Cub 23. A bad snap cost the Mules 11 yards. Diaz tossed to I. Mendoza running across the middle for 18 yards leaving the Mules needing one yard on fourth down.
Dunham shuffled over from his up-back set and took the snap and followed his center, Donavan Gutierrez, for three yards and a first down. Diaz kept wide right for an 11-yard TD scamper. Contreras kick was good to tie the game at 14-14 with 2:53 showing on the clock.
The Mule defense stepped up the intensity after I. Mendoza made the tackle on the kickoff return at the Cub 33. Boo Flores and Gutierrez held the Cubs to just two yards on first down. Y. Reyes and Moises Vasquez held the Cub receiver to four yards on second down. Dunham batted down Nolan’s pass leaving the Cubs with a fourth and four situation.
The Cubs punted to the Mule five-yard line and before the ball came to a complete stop a Cub player came flying in to kill the ball but knocked it into the end zone for a touchback.
The Mules started on the 20 and Diaz connected with Y. Reyes for seven yards on third down but the Cubs were off sides giving the Mules third down and five needed for a first. Diaz kept for seven yards and a first down.
Diaz gained another first down with a 10-yard run. Diaz started left and flipped the ball to Florez for the reverse. Flores cut back across the field for a 32-yard gain to the Cub 28.
Diaz tossed to Florez running a crossing route at the eight and Florez was shoved out of bounds at the Brownfield three-yard line. Villa scored on a three-yard drive. The faked the kick and Florez passed to Javy Perez in the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 22-14 Mule lead at the half.
The Mule defense completely shut out the Cubs in the third period.
But meanwhile the Mule offense added two touchdowns. Diaz scored on a four-yard run with 10:18 left in the third quarter after the Mules received the second half kickoff. The PAT kick failed and the Mules led 28-14.
The Mules kicked off and the Cubs covered the ball at the Cub 44. D. Hasley and Dunham applied pressure to Nolan to force an errant pass that Florez intercepted at the Mule five-yard line.
Thirteen plays later Diaz connected with Florez over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown. Contreras kick was good and the Mules led the Cubs 35-14 with 4:25 remaining in the third period. The 95-yard drive took 13 plays and erased five and half minutes off the clock.
Lozano’s kickoff rolled to the Cub 10 before it was picked up. I. Mendoza made the stop at the Cub 31. Vasquez kept Nolan from getting wide and D. Hasley cut him down after a two-yard gain. Dunham forced Nolan to throw his pass high over the Cub receiver. Gutierrez and D. Hasley teamed up to hold Nolan for no gain to force the Cubs to punt.
The Mules allowed the punt to roll dead at the Mule 37. The Mules eliminated the final minutes of the third period on the ensuing drive and almost two minutes of the final period. The Mules used 14 plays to drive down field but stalled out on the Cub six.
Florez spotted the deep snap on the Cub 14 and Contreras boomed the 24-yard field goal to increase the Mules’ lead to 38-14 with just over 10 minutes left in the game.
Nolan found Hood open to complete a 99-yard drive with a 44-yard pass and run play. Nolan passed for the two-point conversion to cut the Mule lead to 38-22.
“We were trying to run the clock out by keeping the ball on the ground late in the game,” said Coach Wood. “But Brownfield kept calling time out. It was fourth down and we needed a eight yards for a first down. We ran a play we thought would have a chance for a first and Jason (Florez) didn’t see anything but green grass in front of him and went for the score.”
“Our defense corralled their quarterback and did not give up a long run for a touchdown to him. He normally has at least one every game. We also controlled their number one receiver. I was really proud of our kids.”
Florez took a reverse pitch from Diaz and two defenders forced him to cut up field. After getting past the Cub would-be tacklers he cut to the sideline and had an open field ahead of him to pay dirt. Contreras added the point after.
The Mules rolled up an impressive 707 yards with 401 yards being through the air and 306 via the air.
Diaz completed 24 of 35 passes for 401 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed 18 times for 151 yards and two scores. Florez rushed twice for 61 yards and one touchdown. Florez also caught seven passes for 187 yards and scored twice.
Villa carried nine times for 43 yards and one score and snagged three passes for 27 yards. Lozano rushed three times for 26 yards and caught two passes for 33 yards. Y. Reyes carried twice for 14 yards and caught four passes for 56 yards.