Making History with Undefeated Record…..Mustangs beat Poteet 24-7 at Homecoming
The Natalia Mustangs continued to impress last Friday night, beating the Poteet Aggies on Homecoming night 24-2 to finish the regular season at 5-0.
The last time Natalia was undefeated this far into a season was 1989.
“I am very pleased where we are as a team right now,” Head Coach Chad Graves said. “We are playing good fundamental football.”
Natalia started with a bang against the Aggies, receiving the opening kickoff and scoring on their first possession. After Poteet was flagged for being offsides, Mustang running back Ray Rizo took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage and sprinted 59 yards for the touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead.
A touchback allowed the Aggies to set up at their own 25 yard line to start their first possession, and they steadily marched down the field with a series of running plays before fumbling at the Natalia 34 yard line.
The Mustangs started a good drive of their own, picking up 24 yards on a pass from Quarterback Dustin Richardson to Caden Fregia. A defensive personal foul penalty added 15 yards onto the end of the play, and two more short gains by Fregia and another defensive penalty put Natalia in prime position with a 1st down at the Aggies’ 3 yard line. The Mustangs suffered a fumble of their own on the next play, and Poteet recovered to stave off a Natalia score.
Poteet had another strong offensive possession, surrounding a 37-yard pass and a 43-yard run with smaller gains to push as far as the Natalia 15 yard line. The Mustang defense came up strong, tackling the Aggie rusher in the backfield for a loss on 3rd-and-5. A 33-yard field goal attempt was no good.
Natalia took over deep in their own end zone, and lost yardage on three consecutive plays leaving the Mustangs no choice but to punt. An errant snap sailed out of the end zone for a safety, giving Poteet two points for what would be their only score of the game.
Both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter, trading punts throughout the period to head into halftime with the score still 7-2.
The Aggies received the kickoff to start the second half, returning it 27 yards to their own 29 yard line. A 10-yard run immediately got Poteet a fresh set of downs, but Natalia’s defense stiffened again, forcing the Aggies to call a timeout facing a 4th-and-3 at their own 46 yard line before ultimately deciding to punt.
Rizo picked up 27 yards on Natalia’s first play of the second half, and Fregia followed with a 20 yard gain to the Poteet 17 yard line. Two short gains and an incomplete pass led to a 4th-and-5, and kicker Oscar Alvarez did what he’s done all season, nailing a 29-yard field goal to increase Natalia’s lead to 10-2.
Poteet continued to truck along on offense, starting their next possession at their own 25 yard line. A defensive pass interference call helped the Aggies out of a 3rd-and-10 situation and kept the drive alive before it eventually stalled at the Natalia 38 yard line.
The Mustangs took over on downs and benefitted from a defensive pass interference call themselves. Fregia ran for 13 yards and another first down, and after an offensive holding call pushed Natalia back 10 yards, Richardson completed a 23-yard pass to Julian Martinez to set the Mustangs up with a 1st-and-10 at Poteet’s 13-yard line. Another turnover in the red zone was recovered by the Aggies to end Natalia’s scoring threat.
The turnover could have been a momentum changer, but instead, the Mustang defense came up big again, forcing their first 3-and-out of the game to snuff out Poteet’s hopes.
Natalia took over at their own 44 yard line, and on 3rd-and-3, Rizo busted loose for a 49-yard touchdown to put the Mustangs up 17-2 with 6:44 left in the game.
The Aggies didn’t give up, picking up three first downs on their next possession. Poteet was forced to try and convert a 4th-and-9 from Natalia’s 43 yard line but went backwards for three yards to turn the ball over on downs once again.
Natalia wasn’t able to get a first down and run out the clock on their next possession and punted back to the Aggies with 1:47 left.
Poteet took over at their own 27 yard line and promptly threw an interception to Martinez, who returned it all the way for a touchdown to salt away the 24-2 victory.
Despite the lopsided score the teams were evenly matched, with Natalia gaining 287 yards of total offense and 13 first downs on 41 plays, and Poteet close behind with 268 total yards of offense and 15 first downs on 57 plays.
Natalia had four penalties for 40 yards and lost two fumbles, while Poteet had 10 penalties for 100 yards, lost two fumbles, and threw two interceptions.
“We must get better with securing the football on offense,” Graves said. “We also must get better at team tackling.”
Rizo continued to lead the way on offense, picking up 187 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Fregia added 50 yards on nine rushes.
Richardson attempted 12 passes, completing eight for 62 yards. Martinez had two receptions for 26 yards, followed by Fregia with one reception for 24 yards, Nikolai Patino with one reception for six yards, and Rizo with four for six yards.
Defensively, Martinez and Patino each pulled in an interception.
Alvarez continued to come up big for the Mustangs, converting his field goal attempt and all three extra point attempts for six points.
The Mustangs have a much-needed break this week before opening District play on the road against the always formidable Poth Pirates.
“We are trying to heal up some nagging injuries during this open week and starting to prepare for the grind of district play,” Graves said. “We play in a tough district so we will have to get better each week to be able to compete.
“Every football player and coach appreciates the support from the community and was very excited at the turnout from the Homecoming game. It would be awesome to travel to Poth in two weeks with the same crowd.”
By Marly Davis