Mules vs. Littlefield (10-28-2016)
The Littlefield Wildcats had not won a “War on 84” since 2013 until this past Friday night. The 2016 version of the annually renewed “War on 84” turned out in favor of Littlefield because of an accidental pooch kick.
The Wildcats had tied the game at 35-35 with 4:09 left to play when Andrew Deluzio muffed the kickoff. He had been instructed to kick the ball high and deep but instead the ball went high and short.
The ball hit the turf at the Mule 45 and bounced back to the oncoming Wildcats. Littlefield recovered the ball at the Mule 47. Seven plays and four minutes later the Wildcats were in the Mule end zone for a 41-35 win. The Mules blocked the extra-point attempt.
The ensuing kickoff took two seconds off the clock leaving the Mules seven seconds to go 67 yards to pay dirt.
Beto Diaz first pass attempt was batted down. The Mules then sent five players wide right and Diaz connected with Jason Florez. He raced downfield with blockers in front of him. As the Wildcats were about to tackle him he shuffled the ball back to Dagen Dunham.
Dunham rumbled downfield and got the ball to Javy Perez. Perez was shoved out of bounds 25-yards short of pay dirt.
“We had a great game plan and executed that plan,” said Mule head coach, David Wood. “The ball just did not bounce our way tonight. It happens sometimes. We have never shut down the Littlefield ground attack like we did tonight.”
“Maybe we were too good against the run and forced them to pass. Even the onside kick turned out to be a mistake by their kicker. We must now move on and keep winning. We are now in playoff mode even with one regular season game still on the schedule.”
The “War on 84” started out as a defensive battle in the opening period and neither team scored until early in the second period. The two teams combined for five touchdowns in the second period and the first half ended with the Littlefield Wildcats leading the Mules 21-14.
The seesaw battle continued through the second half. The score was tied four times during the game not including the 0-0 score through the first period. Littlefield scored the decisive touchdown with just nine seconds left in the ball game on a two-yard run.
The Mules fumbled late in the third period with the Wildcats leading 21-20. Littlefield recovered on the Wildcat 43. The miscue allowed Littlefield to drive 57 yards on four plays and score on a 31-yard run by Chris Douglas. The PAT was good and Littlefield increased the margin to 28-20.
It only took the Mules one minute to reply. Florez returned the Littlefield kickoff to the Mule 31. A screen play to Florez lost two yards on first down.
When the Mules snapped the ball on second down, Yoel Reyes ran straight at the Wildcat cornerback. The defensive back froze in his tracks and Y. Reyes broke downfield. Diaz delivered him the ball in stride at the Littlefield 40. Y. Reyes ran away from the defender for a 71-yard touchdown.
The Mules needed a two-point conversion to knot the score. Dunham hit the deck while appearing to attempt to make a block. He rolled away, popped up and scooted eight yards deep in the end zone and Diaz tossed him the ball to tie the score with 3:09 remaining in the third period.
The Mule defense clamped down on the Wildcats and forced Littlefield to punt on the second play of the fourth period.
Florez spotted Diaz scrambling away from a Wildcat. He broke off his route and came back to receive Diaz’s pass at the Littlefield 32. Florez was pushed out of bounds at the Wildcat 23.
Diaz kept the ball and ran up the middle for a six-yard gain on first down. On second down, he rolled right, pump faked and then took off down the field. Florez made a block at the three-yard line to pave the way for Diaz third touchdown run. Arturo Contreras tacked on the extra point for a 35-28 Mule lead with ten minutes left in the game.
Littlefield scored the final two touchdowns for the win.
Diaz completed 16 of 23 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once. Diaz rushed 16 times for 68 yards and three touchdowns. Javy Perez carried four times for 53 yards.
Jason Florez caught nine passes for 127 yards and one touchdown. Yoel Reyes snagged two passes for 83 yards and one touchdown. Tre Villa caught two passes for 52 yards. The Mules rolled up 119 yards rushing and threw for 295 yards for a total offensive output of 414 yards.
The Mule defense held Littlefield to 161 yards rushing and 207 yards passing for a total of 368 yards.
Mario “Boo” Flores led the Mules with 17 tackles. Donovan Gutierrez made 14 tackles and hurried the quarterback once. Dagen Dunham recorded 12 tackles and made three quarterback hurries.
Dominik Hasley and Fidel Mendoza had nine tackles each. F. Mendoza also made one special teams tackles and one quarterback hurry. Isaac Mendoza and Romeo Reyes made eight tackles each. I. Mendoza had one tackle for a loss and R. Reyes made two special teams tackles.
Carlos Meza finished with five tackles and three quarterback hurries. Zack Atwood and Ean Hasley made three special teams tackles each.
The Mules will travel to Shallowater for the final regular season game. The Mules and Mustangs will battle for a playoff seeding. The game winner will be in third place and the loser drops to fourth place in the district.