Mules vs. River Road (10-14-2016)
It was a tale of two halves Friday night when the Mules traveled to Amarillo River Road. The Mules seemed to have the game going their way through the first half and led 24-7 at the intermission.
But the River Road Wildcats caught a break in the third period when the Mules failed to convert on fourth down and turned the ball over. That seemed to provide fuel for the Wildcats momentum.
The Wildcats scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to defeat the Mules 31-24.
The Wildcats kicked off and the Mules returned the ball to the Mule 14. A swing pass for a one-yard gain on first down set up a big second down strike. The Mules sent three receivers wide to the left side.
Jason Florez lined up as the middle receiver and made a move to the inside at the snap of the ball. He immediately changed course and broke up field. Beto Diaz launched the pass as Florez was running away from the defense.
Florez ran under the ball at the Mule 35 and pushed the pedal to the metal and out ran all defenders to the end zone. The two-play drive and 85-yard TD strike took only one minute three seconds off the clock. The PAT kick was no good and the Mules led 6-0.
River Road returned the Mule kickoff to the River Road 47. The Mules then got a glimpse of what was coming in the second half with the Wildcats running 14 plays to chew up the 53 yards needed for a touchdown.
Keevin Connor pounded the ball in from one-yard out with 1:47 remaining in the first period. The PAT kick was good to give the Wildcats a 7-6 lead.
The Wildcats kicked off to the end zone and the Mules started their second drive at the Mule 25. Diaz tossed to Javy Perez running a slant over the middle. Perez made the catch at the Mule 47 and was pulled down at the River Road 37 for a 38-yard gain.
Villa took a pitch wide for four yards. The Mules sent three receivers wide left and Villa set up left of Diaz. Diaz cut right in front of Diaz and Diaz underhanded him a shovel pass. Villa gained nine yards to the Wildcat 24.
Florez raced down field and cut toward the flag. Diaz fired him the ball and Florez laid out to make the catch at the River Road three-yard line. Perez blasted up the middle for the Mules’ second touchdown of the night. The two-point conversion failed and the Mules led 12-7 with 11:51 remaining in the half.
Arturo Contreras kicked off and the ball hit the Wildcat in the chest at the River Road 20. The ball bounced forward to the 25 and Romeo Reyes went flying in at shoe top level to blast the ball out of the return man’s hands as he attempted to pick up the ball. Ean Hasley beat everyone to the ball at the River Road 11.
Diaz kept up the middle for three yards on first down. The Mule receivers ran a crossing route in the end zone and Diaz delivered Florez the ball eight-yards deep in the end zone with 10:17 still in the half. The kick was no good and the Mules led 18-7.
The Mules halted the Wildcats next drive and forced a punt. The ball took a Mule bounce and was killed at midfield. Villa was ruled to have had the ball ripped from his hands as another defender held him up at the River Road 28.
The Mule defense proved to be up to the task one more time and halted the drive at the Wildcat 42.
Florez received the River Road punt at the Mule 21 and returned it across the field toward the Mule sideline. Donovan Gutierrez laid a Wildcat low with a slobber knocker block at the Mule 28. Yoel Reyes made a second big hit to allow Florez to turn up field. Florez was tripped up at the River Road 43.
A screen pass to Villa drew a 10-yard penalty on River Road to advance the Mules to the Wildcat 33. Florez took a reverse pitch and cut up field for a 19-yard gain. Diaz kept up the middle for 10 yards for a first and goal at the River Road four-yard line.
Diaz passed wide left to Florez just inside the goal line for his third TD catch and put the Mules on top 24-7 at the half.
River Road owned the second half to score the final 24 points of the game. They drove 81 yards on 10 plays to kick a field goal with 5:39 remaining in the third period to start their come back.
That was followed with a four-play 65-yard drive that ended in a touchdown but the two-point conversion failed with 47 seconds left in the third period. The Wildcats ate up almost half of the final frame with an eight-play 61-yard drive for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was good and the game was tied with 6:32 remaining to play.
The Mules could not get untracked as the Wildcats gained momentum.
The Wildcats erased 5:13 off the clock to score on a seven-yard run with just 25 seconds left on the clock. The kick was good.
Florez returned the kickoff from four-yards deep in the end zone to near midfield. A double reverse by the Mules left the ball in Florez hands. He pulled up and fired a pass into the wind.
R. Reyes was double covered but went up to pull down the ball at the River Road 17 with just seconds left on the clock. River Road intercepted Diaz final pass to run out the clock.
Diaz passed for 193 yards and three touchdowns. All three TD passes went to Florez. Florez made six receptions for 150 yards.
Connor led the Wildcat rushing attack with 29 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Devonte Woodard ran 17 times for 157 yards and one touchdown.