JV Mules vs. Shallowater (11-3-2016)
The JV Mules were 4-0 in district going into Thursday’s game with the Shallowater Mustangs in Benny Douglas Stadium. The game was a defensive battle and neither team scored in the first half.
The Mustangs scored as the second half started to take a 7-0 lead. The Mules scored with eight minutes left in the game and added the two-point conversion to take an 8-7 lead. The Mustangs won the game with a 17-yard field goal to defeat the Mules 10-8.
“We sent seven players to the varsity this season and then our quarterback, Luke Del Toro, was injured in practice,” said Mule JV coach John Jay. “The loss of Del Toro hurt our offense but Raul Sierra did a great job of learning the quarterback position on the fly. Our defense really stepped it up to keep us in these games and gave us opportunities to win.”
“We are so proud of these kids and how they met and overcame adversity to stay undefeated in district going into the final game. We are not sure about other teams’ records at this time.”
The Mules first drive was indicative of the way the game would go. The Mule kickoff return man tripped and fell at the Mule eight-yard line. Ryan Rodriguez zipped up the middle for 11 yards on the first play of the game.
Sierra connected with JoJo Rejino along the Mule sideline for another first down at the Mule 29. The Mustangs jumped offside’s to advance the Mules five yards on the penalty. Then a chop-block penalty was called on the Mules to give the Mules a first down and twenty yards needed for a first.
Sierra’s pass was tipped up by his intended receiver and Shallowater intercepted and returned to the Mule 20-yard line.
Neither team could score in the first half.
The Mules whiffed the kickoff to start the second half. The ball spun out of bounds at the Mule 40-yard line. The ensuing five-yard penalty gave the Mustangs the ball at the Mule 35.
The Mustangs marched down the field and scored on a 26-yard run with 8:21 left in the third period. The Mustangs kicked the point after for a 7-0 lead.
A Mule pass was intercepted on the Shallowater 33 and returned to the Mule 44. But the Mules got the ball back on the next play as Jacob Kettner punched the ball out of the running back’s hands and Luis Franco recovered at the Mule 44.
A blocking in the back penalty put the brakes on the Mule drive and forced a punt. Ryan Rodriguez punted to the Shallowater four-yard line.
The Mustangs picked up two first downs and reached the Mustang 30. Corbin Hardwick and a host of Mules made the stop for no gain on first down. Jose Quintana raced into the Mustang backfield for a tackle that cost Shallowater five yards.
Rejino and Julian Astorga stopped the Mustang running back after he gained six yards to force Shallowater to punt on fourth down. The punt rolled dead at the Mustang 47.
Sierra connected with Sergio Solano running a slant over the middle for 22 yards. Rodriguez zipped up the middle and was stripped of the ball at the Mustang five-yard line. Rigo Mendoza recovered for the Mules.
The Mustangs were called for pass interference in the end zone. The penalty gave the Mules a first down at the Mustang one-yard line. Sierra scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak up the middle. Rodriguez slipped through a hole in the middle for the two-point conversion that gave the Mules an 8-7 lead with eight minutes left in the game.
Luis Franco kicked off and Quintana and Fabian Valadez raced downfield to make the tackle at the Shallowater 35.
Rodriguez made the stop on first down for no gain. Hardwick and Quintana made the tackle on second down after a five-yard gain. Astorga and Mendoza blitzed and sacked the quarterback for a nine-yard loss to force the Mustangs to punt on fourth down.
A blocking in the back penalty set the Mules back to the Mule 20. The Mules were facing a punting situation after picking up just one first down. Rodriguez faked the punt and raced wide left but was tackled just short of a first down.
The Mustangs had the ball at the Mule 27 with just over three and a half minutes left in the game. Rejino broke up the pass on first down but the Mustangs connected over the middle for a 21-yard gain to the Mule 16.
An 11-yard gain on first down put the Mustangs on the Mule five-yard line with a first and goal. Solano blitzed on first down and made the tackle for a four-yard loss. Shallowater gained eight yards to the Mule one-yard line.
Mendoza made the stop for no gain on third down.
Shallowater kicked a 17-yard field goal for the win.
Raul Sierra completed 15 of 28 passes for 127 yards and he rushed three times for three yards and one touchdown. Ryan Rodriguez carried 13 times for 112 yards and scored a two-point conversion. He also caught two passes for 18 yards.
Sergio Solano had three receptions for 40 yards. JoJo Rejino made five catches for 36 yards and Fabian Valadez had five receptions for 33 yards.
The Mules rushed for 115 yards and passed for 127 yards for a total of 242 yards.
Luis Franco led the Mules with 10 tackles and one sack. Julian Astorga and Corbin Hardwick recorded eight tackles each. Rigo Mendoza made seven tackles and recovered a fumble. Jose Quintana also made seven tackles.
“Our big offensive play of the game was when we scored and made the two-point conversion in the fourth quarter to take the lead,” continued Jay. “Our defense held Shallowater at our 13-, 19- and four-yard lines in the first half to keep the game tied at 0-0. Then, in the final period, we stopped them a the one-yard line to force them to kick a field goal.”
Many of the Mules will step up to the Varsity for the Mules’ playoff run.