A fierce comeback in Aggieland

Varsity Mustangs #20 Roberto Curiel and #11 Enrique Deosio take down a Poteet ball carrier, while #6 Jacob Jass and #42 Austin Guzman move in to help.

The Natalia Mustangs were able to score with 1:01 left in the ball game, to win a wild contest in the Strawberry Capital of Poteet last Friday night 48-41. Natalia Junior QB Wyatt Woodson did what he had done all game. He simply found a way to make things happen, although many times on this Friday night, it didn’t seem possible.
Woodson lunged toward the endzone thru Aggie defenders breaking the plane of the goal line allowing for a huge victory as the team celebrated in the endzone, as things became dead silent on the Aggie side of the stadium. This score capped off not only the most important of four touchdowns for the QB, but also his final offensive production as he led with 177 passing yards (1-TD) and 18 rushes for 158 yards (3TDs).
“I am very proud of our kids and coaches,” Natalia Head Football Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “Unfortunately, we had been in this situation before and our team has been resilient.”
What Martinez referenced, was the fact that the Mustangs had to rally back from a huge dark hole in which the home squad Aggies led 21-0. Nothing went right for the Mustangs early, until they finally caught a break in the second quarter of play.
Poteet gave their home crowd plenty to cheer about early, as Eric Trevino completed a pass to speedster Ernest Davila who out-raced the Mustangs 67 yards on the first play of the game to score an Aggie touchdown. The PAT was good, as the Ags led 7-0 with just 11:42 to go in the opening quarter.
Natalia got the ball for their first drive of the game at their own 33. Seven plays later, Poteet was able to intercept a Woodson pass and take over at their own 30 yard line with 9:24 to go in the opening quarter. The Aggies needed nine plays to march down field 70 yards before Trevino ran in a 1 yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the Ags extended their lead to 14-0 with 5:48 to go in the 1st quarter.
On Natalia’s second possession of the game, the offense continued to be flat and less than aggressive and crisp. Seven plays later, the Stangs stalled out and allowed Poteet to take over at their own 27 after a Mustang punt. Poteet continued to be on fire, using their size up front and their quickness to their advantage. An Eric Trevino run was followed by three straight Davila runs before Trevino scored on a pass to Davila for the Aggie touchdown. The PAT was good and the Aggies had taken a shocking 21-0 lead with 1:46 to go in the opening quarter of play.
Natalia finally put together a good drive to end the 1st quarter and begin the second. Natalia used runs by Woodson and Adrian Vasquez to march 62 yards downfield on seven plays before Woodson scored on a 43 yard gashing run for the Natalia TD. This touchdown didn’t come easy. It came on a 4th down and 9 fake punt call. The call didn’t go as plan, as it appeared to be a failure. Somehow, some way, Woodson turned nothing into something with a huge TD that truly changed the momentum. The PAT failed, but the Stangs were on the board with 10:51 to go in the 1st half.
Poteet got the ball back, but fumbled on their second play of the drive at their own 37 yard line. Natalia recovered and took over with 10:14 to go.
Nine plays later, a hand-off to Vasquez scored for Natalia from 2 yards out allowing Natalia to get right back in the game. Jacob Navarro bulled his way in for two, as the Stangs were within 21-14 with 7:42 to go in the first half.
The Aggies responded, as they used nine plays to cap off a 62 yard drive with a touchdown by Davila from 19 yards out. The PAT failed, but the Aggies lead was now 27-14 with 4:32 to go in the first half.
Both teams traded possessions in the following series thanks to big defensive stops. Natalia got the ball back with 2:25 to go in the half at the Poteet 47 yard line. After a run for a loss by Woodson, he found his go to man, Diego Zapata. Zapata made things happen, weaving in and out of traffic after a nice catch for a 48 yard touchdown. The PAT was good, as the Stangs closed the gap to 27-21 with 1:46 to go in the half. This is how things would stand at the half.
Natalia gave their fans plenty to cheer about to start the 3rd quarter. Their play maker, Diego Zapata took the opening kickoff in the 3rd quarter and raced 87 yards in and out of traffic for a Natalia touchdown. This allowed the Mustangs following the PAT, to take the lead for the first time in the game 28-27.
In the see-saw battle, the Aggies struck again to start the 3rd quarter, as they used a ten play drive that spanned 73 yards downfield. Poteet scored on a 14 yard run by Davila. The two point try failed, but the lead was back up to 33-28 for the Aggies.
Natalia had found their rhythm offensively, as they began a 60 yard drive with 7:29 to go in the 3rd quarter. The Stangs used a 15 play drive before Adrian Vasquez scored again, this time from two yards out as the front line for Natalia began to win the battle up front. The two point play failed, but Natalia had the lead again, 34-33.
On the ensuing possession by the Aggies, the Natalia defense rose to the occasion and provided a rare stop at Aggie Stadium forcing them to punt with 35 seconds to go in the 3rd quarter. Natalia took over at their own 18 yard line to start the 4th quarter. Natalia used a big pass play to Adrian Vasquez for 35 yards to start the drive. The Stangs then used runs by Vasquez, Jass and Woodson to set up a big run by Woodson on 2nd and 6 from the Aggie 30 yard line. Woodson found a way to make things happen again on the 30 yard TD run. The PAT was good by Hernandez, giving Natalia a 41-33 lead with 9:54 to go in the game.
This game was nowhere near over yet, as the Aggies fought right back. Poteet used a four play drive, before scoring on a huge 65 yard run by Trevino. The two point try failed, as the Aggies tied Natalia 41-41 with 8:22 to go in the game.
In the final 4 minutes of the game, there were plenty of big plays, questionable calls and just an interesting finish to a hard fought ball game.
Poteet got the ball back with 4:15 to go in the game at their own 43 yard line. The Natalia defense rose to the occasion, despite being hit with two huge penalties. Natalia forced Poteet into a punting situation at the Natalia 47 yard line.
The snap was high and over the punters head, as Natalia raced back and got the ball to take over. They took over at the Aggie 14 yard line. Woodson took a 2nd and 5 and bulled his way into the endzone for the game winning touchdown allowing Natalia to go up 48-41 after the Hernandez PAT.
Poteet got the ball back at their own 37 with 1:01 to go, but the Mustang defense finished the game with a huge stop on 4th and 11 at the Aggie 36 with 13 seconds to go holding on for a thrilling 48-41 win. This marked the first time in their last three tries a victory was claimed at Aggie Stadium.
“We made plays and it started with a fake punt,” Martinez said. “Our defense finally made some stops and our offense capitalized on the opportunities.”
Martinez was asked his thoughts on what allowed Poteet to take a 21-0 lead and he stated the following: “We came out flat and we simply took too long to get things going. We put ourselves in bad situations and found a way to come back. Our kids and coaches never panicked and kept playing. We chipped away a little at a time and tried to make the most of every opportunity.”
Final #s
Poteet finished the game with 491 yards of offense on 60 plays as Natalia finished with 383 yards of offense on 64 plays. Poteet was 6-9-109 yards passing as Woodson was 9-24-177 yards passing. Poteet rushed 51 times for 382 yards as Natalia rushed 40 times for 206 yards.
The Aggies had 6-60 yards in penalties as Natalia had 8-80. Both teams finished with 20 1st downs in the game as Poteet was 1-2 on 4th down conversions and Natalia was 3-5.
Open Week
The Mustangs will take a 4-1 record into their open week as they prepare for their district opener vs Stockdale.
“Open week comes at a great time for us,” Martinez said. “It has been a tough, but good competitive non-district for us. It is time to re-group and focus on making a run in district.”
According to Martinez, they are down a few players due to injury and they hope to get them back in time for district.
“We need to improve on fundamentals and get healthy while staying focused on the details,” Martinez said.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer