Marion Bulldogs coming to town for Mustangs Friday

Eric Smith
Staff Writer
The Natalia Mustangs and the Marion Bulldogs will enter Friday night’s non-district game with 0-1 records as the Stangs are coming off a tough loss to Jourdanton as Marion suffered a 41-31 loss to Hondo.

Marion Outlook
This will mark just the second time in 30+ years the two programs will battle on the football field, as Marion won last year’s battle 35-17 in Guadalupe County.
Marion (481 enrollment at HS) returns seven offensive and five defensive starters from their 6-4 (3-3) squad that missed out on the playoffs in a tough 3A, Division I district. This season, Dave Campbell’s Magazine has them picked to finish behind Blanco and Llano, but ahead of Randolph, Cole, Ingram and Luling.
“Marion has another good team this season and Coach Miller and his staff have them playing well,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “They lost a tough game on Friday against a good Hondo team and we expect them to show up and give us their best.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs are running a spread offense and according to Martinez, they do a good job of running RPO’s.
“QB Bo Stahl is a dual threat QB who does a good job of putting his team in good positions.”
A season ago this QB ran the ball for 1,144 yards and 12 touchdowns and also threw the ball for 284 yards and 4 touchdowns.
According to Martinez, other stand-outs for Marion include WR Aiden BAtey and WR Chase Hallmark.
“Hallmark is a next level speed guy and has great hands,” Martinez said. “Batey is explosive and has big play potential every play.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs base out of a 4-3 defense with a lot of man concepts,” Martinez said.
Their defense is led by Garrett Mann who according to the Natalia staff is a big presence in the middle and he does a good job of getting off the ball.
“Michael Purcell is another big defensive end who is an anchor on their line,” Martinez said.
Natalia Outlook
Natalia will take the field hoping to do a ton of little things better than they did a week ago including being better tacklers on defense and more aggressive up front on both sides of the football. Turnovers is one other area Natalia must improve on, if they want to compete against good ball clubs like their first three non-district opponents.
“We have to establish the run and be better tacklers,” Martinez exclaimed. “If we play to our team’s potential, I like our opportunity to compete against a good football team like Marion.”
The Mustangs and Bulldogs will kick-off at 7:30 p.m. in Natalia and as always, tickets will be available on TicketSpicket. Be sure to Come Early, Be Loud, Wear Blue and Cheer on the Stangs!

Mustangs battle J-town in season opener

Eric Smith
Staff Writer
Senior QB Matthew Hicks led the Indians last Friday night in a dominating win over the Natalia Mustangs. Hicks led a red hot offense accounting for a total of 469 yards and six touchdowns en route to a 44-0 shut-out victory. Natalia will turn their eyes to week two, as they look to learn from this opener and prepare for a good Marion Football squad (0-1) coming to town.
“I was very disappointed with how we played and I do not believe the outcome truly reflects our team,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said.
Hicks began the success for the Tribe early in the 1st quarter as he scored on a 1 yard run to give them a 7-0 lead.
Natalia’s offense struggled early and often to find an offensive rhythm and the Indians took advantage.
The Indians struck again on their second possession of the game, as Hicks found Isaiah Lamber for a 35 yard strike allowing for a 14-0 lead and this is how it would stand at the end of the 1st quarter.
The Indians were able to take a 21-0 lead on Natalia as Hicks found Trevor Dickey on an 18 yard strike.
Natalia found some success in the middle of the second quarter, as Senior QB Landon Woosly found Senior Justin Curiel for a big play over the middle putting the Stangs in the red zone. Unfortunately on a big 4th down play, Woosley’s pass was incomplete on a slant over the middle and the Tribe took over and put the dagger in.
The dagger came as Dylan Guerra took a handoff around the visitor side of the field and raced 93 yards down the sideline as time expired to score, giving the Atascosa County faithful plenty to cheer about while sucking the air out of the packed home-side of the stadium. J-Town had taken a 28-0 lead into the half.
“Offensively, we struggled to find any momentum or to move the ball consistently and when we did, we had self inflicted penalties that would kill the drive,” Martinez said. “Not to mention, we had a total of five turnovers we gave them.”
J-Town was able to score two final times in the 3rd quarter and used a not so good Natalia miscue in the 4th for a safety resulting in a tough 44-0 opening loss for Natalia.
“Defensively, we did a poor job of tackling and gave up way too many big plays to be successful,” Martinez said. “After watching the tape, we have much to improve on and that is what we will be very intentional about doing.”
Final Stats
1st Downs: Jourdanton 17, Natalia 11. Rushes: JTown 35-289, Natalia 24-17. Passing: J-Town 180 yards, Natalia 128. Natalia Individual leader: Leo Buentello 7-29 yards. He was also 6-10-84 yards-1INT. Woosley 7-15-44.
Upcoming Game
The Natalia Mustangs will welcome another 3A (Div.I) squad to town Friday as the Marion Bulldogs prance into town. See the Marion Preview story for more details.