A tough one to swallow in Stockdale

Last Friday night in Wilson County, it was a sold out Homecoming contest at Bobby Russell Field between the Natalia Mustangs and the Stockdale Brahmas. It was a game that showcased a ton of effort, a few tough breaks for both schools, a ton of questionable calls and the most controversial final minute and a half of any I have seen while covering high school sports.
As Stockdale QB Cutter Clancy threw up what appeared to be one final ditched effort to a receiver in the back right side of the end zone, Natalia’s Gavin Martinez made a great play breaking up the pass as the horn sounded. The Natalia Mustangs stormed onto the field as Stockdale began to walk off the field, as it appeared as if the Natalia Mustangs had defeated Stockdale 20-14 in a huge 15-3A (Div.II) road victory.
Something did not seem right, as the head umpire never put the ball into the air signaling the completion of the game. As many in the Natalia crowd feared this game was not over yet. Every call seemed to go the way of the Brahmas. After watching Stockdale confer with the officials, the head umpire opted to put 1-second back onto the scoreboard as Natalia stood in disbelief.
In what seemed like the longest play of the game, Clancy rolled around under pressure scrambling and before nearly being sacked he got the pass off and found Ryan Reynolds in the right side of the end zone for a Stockdale touchdown. Clancy booted the PAT thru the up-rights giving Stockdale a shocking 21-20 win just minutes after it appeared as if they were on the losing side of the game.
Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez was asked his thoughts on the tough breaks with calls by the officials and he had the following to say: “It is never a good time to get the calls we did, but I will not say that cost us the game, but it also made it hard for us to win,” Martinez said. “We need to be better.”
Neither team got off to a great offensive start, as Stockdale received first to begin the game. The Brahmas were forced to punt after running seven plays, giving Natalia the ball at their own 32 yard line. Unfortunately, Natalia went 3-and out, punting, giving the Brahmas back the ball at their own 39 yard line with 7:44 to go in the opening quarter. Jake Gann who was tough to stop many times throughout the night, had a big drive allowing Stockdale to move the ball down to the Natalia 40 before Natalia forced their first fumble of the game. Natalia took over at their own 40 and used five plays including two big passes from QB Woodson to Xavier Vasquez to march to the Stockdale 43 yard line.
One play later, Woodson was able to connect with Coltin Richardson who raced 23 yards for the Natalia TD. The PAT was good, as the Stangs took a 7-0 lead.
Stockdale got the ball back and began their march from their own 29 yard line. On their second play of the game, a Clancy pass was intercepted by Xavier Vasquez on a big defensive play giving Natalia the ball back at the Stockdale 48.
On this drive, Woodson started the drive on a nice 29 yard pass to Adrian Vasquez before watching Elijah Banda run for 7 yards down to the Stockdale 12 yard line. Natalia’s Woodson would come out of a time-out called by Stockdale and race in from 12 yards out for a Natalia TD. The PAT was good again as the Stangs had taken a 14-0 lead with 53 seconds to go in the opening quarter.
The Brahmas got the ball back with 43 seconds to go in the 1st quarter and used a huge fake punt run up the middle on 4th and 5 at the Natalia 44 to spark the purple pride of Wilson County. Three plays later and Clancy ran in for Stockdale’s first touchdown of the game. The PAT by Wubbena was good, allowing the Brahmas to cut the lead to 14-7 with 7:37 to go in the first half.
Natalia got the ball back in good field position following a block in the back call on the return. Natalia started off at the Stockdale 40 yard line. Natalia used a pass to Richardson, runs by both Nate and Elijah Banda, and a pass to X. Vasquez before watching Woodson run in from 2 yards out with 4:40 to go for the 3rd touchdown of the game for Natalia. The PAT was no good and the Stangs led 20-7 at the half.
The Brahmas were able to score their second touchdown of the game after stopping Natalia on their first drive of the second half. Stockdale used a eight play drive that spanned 52 yards downfield to score on a Clancy 1 yard run with 5:56 to go in the 3rd quarter of play. The PAT by Clancy was good, as the Brahmas were within 20-14 of Natalia.
Natalia got the ball back and started at their own 29 yard line. Natalia began a good offensive drive, as they used eight plays to march 60 yards downfield. During this drive, Natalia used runs by E. Banda, passes by Woodson to X. Vasquez and Jacob Navarro before a tough break. Natalia had a 3rd and 1 at the Stockdale 31 with 2:28 to go in the 3rd quarter. Natalia fumbled the ball and Stockdale recovered ending the offensive drive by the Stangs.
The remainder of the game, Natalia had one more mishap offensively, an interception down at the Stockdale 34 yard line following a big pass play from Woodson to Vasquez.
Natalia didn’t find the end zone the remainder of the game which led up to the final big game winning, yet very controversial final drive, by the Brahmas that began with 4:37 to go in the game. This drive was sixteen plays that spanned 82 yards including three flags by the officials, two of which were against Natalia totaling 25 yards.
Other HUGE controversial calls: QB Woodson scrambles to the sideline- hit with a foot out of bounds knocking him near the Stockdale track. Flags thrown, then waved off. A great hit directly in the chest of a Stockdale player by Jake Navarro- ruled targeting by the official. Two sideline warnings against Natalia, including the second which cost Natalia huge yardage in a crucial time in the play, despite the fact the Natalia staff was 20 yards within the closest player and hardly on the field. Keep in mind, the Stockdale staff was on the field all night whenever they wanted! A number of illegal procedure no-calls by the officials and we could go on and on and on. #FactsNotEmotion
Other facts: At the end of the day, when you do not score in the second half, unfortunately, these kinds of things that are NOT fair to kids, do happen, although quite rare. In the end, a game was simply ripped right from the hands of the better ball club who played a better game and within seconds went from a 20-14 Natalia win, to a 21-20 Stockdale win. The rest is history.
“It was a disappointing loss that we’re going to have to learn from and move on, because the schedule does not get any easier,” Coach Ilyan Martinez said.
The Natalia Mustangs did finish with the better stats offensively as they out-gained Stockdale 313-295 in the game.
What led to a big offensive first half? “I thought we did a great job of executing the game plan and playing ahead of the chains,” Coach Martinez said. “We were patient and got into a good rhythm.
Tough breaks on D- “I felt we played well on defense, but then would get a penalty or a busted coverage and it is hard to win like that,” Martinez said.”
When asked about the inconsistent struggles with the PATs this season, Martinez stated that is something they will continue to improve on.
Final Offensive #s: Natalia 313 yards, Stockdale 295. # of plays: Natalia 47, Stockdale 66. Yards per play: Natalia 6.7, Stockdale 4.5. Passing: Natalia 14-21-209-1TD-1INT, Stockdale 8-14-115-1TD-1INT. Turnovers: Natalia 2, Stockdale 3. 1st Downs: Natalia 12, Stockdale 16. 3rd down Conversions: Natalia 2-10, Stockdale 8-18.
Individual Stat Leaders: Woodson 14-20-209-1TD-1INT, Ryan Rizo 0-1. Rushing: Woodson 12-63-2TDs, E. Banda 8-30. Receiving: A. Vasqauez 2-75, X. Vasquez 5-69, Richardson 4-39, Navarro 2-25.
Defensive Stat Leaders: Assists: Manuel Garcia 9, RC Carrejo 7, Navarro 6, Gaylen Garcia 4, Isaac Rios 3. Solo Tackles: M. Garcia 8, Navarro 6, Gavin Martinez 6, Ryan Rizo 4, Rios 4. Tackles for a loss: Rizo 2, Navarro 2, M. Garcia 2. QB Hurries: G. Garcioa 2, Rios 2, Dustin Soto 1. Big Hits: M. Garcia 5, Navarro 3, Rizo 2. Caused Fumble: M. Garcia 2, Navarro 1. Fumble Recovers: D. Perez 1, Rizo 1.
Next one up: Your Natalia Mustangs will host a very talented George West Longhorn (2-1) squad this Friday night at Mustang Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
See the preview story for more details.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer