First scrimmage in the books for Mustangs

The Mustang defense is ready for Brackett to bring it on.

The 2018 edition of Natalia Football took to the field last Friday afternoon, for a steamy scrimmage vs old district foe Brackett. The 3A Mustangs were able to out-score the 2A Tigers two touchdowns to 0 when the scrimmage was all said and done.
“I feel like we have a long way to go, but I was pleased at where we are at after watching the scrimmage tape,” Coach Ilyan Martinez said.
Natalia was able to score on the first series of plays, as sophomore Jacob Jass broke loose on an inside run thanks to a crease created by the youthful offensive line. Jass will be one of a number of Stangs who could leave their mark at the end of the season thanks to hard work in the back-field.
The second score of the night, was on an outside run play by Sr. Jimmy Ray Gutierrez who got outside in a hurry and used great blocking downfield by his receivers to find the endzone.
“We ran the ball very well on Friday and that was a big credit to our offensive line,” Martinez said. “We know everything we do starts up front.”
Natalia is currently trying to find a starting QB and two young men saw their time split at the position.
“Our QB’s had time in the pocket and we didn’t have many missed assignments up front,” Martinez said. “We will lean on them to drive our offense. As a team, we still need to understand game situations a lot better and we have to be able to convert and score more.”
Defensively, the Mustangs were able to keep the Tigers within reach the majority of the night. The timing by the Tiger QB was off the majority of the night and much of that was to credit the Natalia defense who pressured early and often.
Brackett did have a few big runs in the game, but never threatened the redzone despite being bigger up front physically.
“Our defensive line did a great job up front making a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage,” Martinez said. “I also felt like we got after the QB most of the scrimmage which made it hard for him to get comfortable.”
One thing that was missing a bit was not only evident to those in attendance, but the coaching staff as well. This to a degree, was understandable due to the number of new faces on the field.
“I would like our defense to play with more confidence and energy,” Martinez said. “We have built our defense around being intense and physical the last couple of years and I would like to see this more in our final scrimmage.”
Sabinal Scrimmage
For the first time 2011, the Natalia Mustangs and the Sabinal Jackets will face off on the football field. Sabinal defeated Natalia in the last two meetings, by scores of 43-35 (2010) and 28-14 (2011).
Although this is only a scrimmage, this will be a good final test for the boys in blue as they prepare for Jason Keller and the boys in purple and gold.
“I am excited to face Sabinal,” Martinez said. “They are a good football team and have a tradition of success. I know Coach Keller and his staff will have their guys ready to go.”
Sabinal competes in a very competitive 14-2A (Div.I) with Mason, Harper, Junction, Brackett and Center Point. Sabinal will return four starters back on both sides of the football as they are coming off a 7-4 season where they fell to Holland in Bi-District by a score of 40-7.
In scrimmage one, Sabinal was edged in scoring 1TD-0 by San Antonio Christian.
“Like any other game, we just want to see progress,” Martinez said. “We want to correct some areas we lacked this past week and play with a higher level of confidence.”
Unfortunately last week, Brackett did not have enough players to comprise a Junior Varsity squad. Coach Martinez has stated, this week the JV will get to scrimmage someone other than themselves as Sabinal has enough for two squads.
Natalia will battle Sabinal with a 7:00 p.m. scrimmage start time as both teams will battle the purple and gold. Although the exact format has not been finalized, traditionally the varsity squads will play one or two live quarters to round out scrimmage action.
Head over to Uvalde County and support the Jackets. One small reminder I learned in 1st grade. Stay away from the bushes and trees in the east endzone. It resulted in me being placed in the hospital with a swollen eye shut from poison ivy. Of course, that was just a few years ago. I can assure you this year, I will be cheering on the boys in blue from the stands.
By Eric Smith