Match-up #59: Natalia vs. Lytle football this Friday

Adrian Vasquez escapes a tackle as Uriel Arellano and Aaron Colchado clear a path. Photo by Brigid Howard.

The Natalia Mustangs (2-0) and the Lytle Pirates (0-2) will square off on the football field Friday night for the 59th time since the South Texas rivalry was first played in 1933. The Natalia Mustangs come into the battle at Walter Joyce Stadium riding a four year win streak vs the neighboring black and gold.
The Mustangs of Natalia are riding high with big wins over Ft. Sam Houston Robert G. Cole and Universal City Randolph as the Pirates of Lytle have fallen to talented Comfort and Hondo squads.
One thing is for sure, and that is anytime these two meet on the football field, throw records out the window, buckle up your helmets and get ready for a hard fought four quarter battle full of emotions, big plays and tons of pride.
Legacy Bowl Notes: This 59th meeting marks the 10th Annual Legacy Bowl battle which began in 2004 originally. Thanks to great football coaching staffs and administrators at both districts, this will mark the 8th year in a row the two squads have battled, due to this contest being canceled at two different times over the last 30 years due to the rivalry getting out of hand. The Lytle Pirates won the first two Legacy Bowl battles in the early 2000s before also winning in 2012 (35-33), 2013 (41-13) and 2014 (41-13). The Natalia Mustangs then have reeled off four wins in a row including 2015 (19-6), 2016 (34-21), 2017 (30-3) and a close game a year ago by a score of 7-6.
A season ago in the 2018 game, Natalia out-gained the Pirates 245-204 offensively in what turned out to be a sluggish, non-traditional low scoring rival battle.
Natalia leads the overall series 30-26 with 3 ties in the history of the program on recorded games.
Lytle Pirate Preview: The Lytle Pirates have opened their season with a 27-0 road loss at Comfort and a 27-12 road loss last week at beautiful Barry Field.
I attempted to contact Lytle Head Football Coach Robert McConathy, Jr., but he opted to not give comments on the game due to the fact that the Devine News does not normally cover the Lytle Pirates.
McConathy is a Lytle High Grad and has been on staff for years before taking over as the Head Coach of this program. He was a true passion for the black and gold and was a great selection by Athletic Director Lori Wilson when Coach Shayne Gallegos left in late school year of 2018-2019.
According to the Lytle faithful who have seen the Pirates, they continue to run a similar offense, but McConathy is trying to put the ball in the air more to assist in their offensive attack this season.
Lytle welcomed back six starters on both sides of the football from their 4-6 (2-4) district mark a season ago in a very tough 15-3A (Div.I).
The Pirates are led by Sophomore QB Drew Williams and return a number of talented young men including LB Rylan Wagner, OL Kody Villarreal, OL Roberson Harold and WR/S Thomas Dominguez.
“We are excited about another opportunity to be a part of another Legacy Bowl,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “We know the significance of the game to both communities and we are excited about the opportunity to represent Natalia in a championship matter.”
According to Martinez, Lytle will run a multiple spread offense.
“They are big up front with some really good skilled players,” Martinez said. “We will have to do a good job of being sound with our front seven guys and find ways to slow down their skilled guys in space.”
“Defensively, they are aggressive,” Martinez said. “They do a great job of bringing pressure from different levels. We will have to do a great job of protecting up front and try to make the most of the match-ups that we get.”
The Pirates are picked by most to finish on the outside looking in when it comes to a very challenging 15-3A (Div.I). Lytle’s opponents include Jourdanton, Marion, Randolph, Cole, Cotulla and Karnes City.
Natalia Mustang Preview: The Mustangs are riding high and are favorites by the major state polls for the first time this season. Natalia will need to stay grounded, continue to improve on both sides of the ball and as always, be the most mature and well disciplined squad on the field when it comes to emotions and penalties.
“We will need to be very detailed in our preparation this week,” Martinez said. “We can’t afford to leave one stone unturned and we will focus to find a way to be better this week than a week ago.”
Natalia should have the advantage when it comes to overall experience on the field, but this game will come down to simple things like tackling in the open field, blown coverage’s or good coverage’s in the secondary and after the whistle penalties.
2019 Legacy Bowl Game set
The 2019 Legacy Bowl game is set for 7:30 p.m. this Friday at Walter Joyce Stadium. Over $4,000+ in scholarship checks will be handed out right around 7:00 p.m. to the 2018-2019 Scholarship Award winners on the field.
Following the game, the winning squad will be awarded the 2019 Legacy Bowl Trophy and Offensive and Defensive MVPs will be chosen from both squads and will be awarded trophies.
The gate admission will be $1.00 more per person thanks to cooperation from Lytle ISD. That $1.00 will be donated to the Legacy Bowl Scholarship fund where 95% of all donations will go directly toward 4-more scholarships a year from now! The remaining 5% goes toward the trophies and the engraving fees.
Be sure to come early, as there is never a seat left once the game kicks-off Friday night. Come early, wear blue and be loud as your Mustangs look for win #5 in a row vs. the Lytle Pirates!
#TTP #ChampionshipCulture
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer