Mustangs and Pirates to square off for 58th time

For the 58th year since the rivalry began in 1933, the Natalia Mustangs (0-2) and the Lytle Pirates (1-1) will battle in one of the storied South Texas match-ups. Over the years, there has been a number of great match-ups, a number of blow-out victories by both towns and even the beloved 1996 game where only administrators and a pair of parents per student were allowed to attend the closed mid-afternoon game at Medina Valley due to the rivalry getting out of hand.
Fast forward to the 2000s, the rival game was halted yet again due to things getting out of hand by both student bodies and alumni.
Thanks to two great football staffs, administrators and student bodies, the rivalry has continued as this will mark the 7th year in a row the black and gold will battle the boys in blue in white.
The Natalia Mustangs have won the last three match-ups: 30-3 (2017), 34-21 (2016) and 19-6 (2015). Prior to this, the Lytle Pirates had won the three years prior 42-20 (2014), 41-13 (2013) and 35-33 (2012).
On games that were recorded in online data bases, the rivalry currently stands tied 27 victories each. Obviously if you do the match, there are a few games back in the 30s and 40s that we have no record of, but this should be a great tie breaker on record this coming Friday night.
“Lytle week is all that needs to be said for anyone in the two communities,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “It has been a fun and exciting atmosphere each year and Friday night will be no different.”
Lytle Outlook
The Pirates began their 2018 campaign with an exciting home victory over the Comfort Bobcats 30-23. Last Friday, the Pirates battled their hearts out in a rain delayed and wet contest versus the Hondo Owls. Lytle came up short, but gave the Owls a run for their money in a 21-14 defeat.
“Offensively, Lytle bases out of a two-back gun set,” Martinez said. “They have a huge offensive line and some really good skilled players.”
Lytle has had a challenge with key injuries early, as they lost their sophomore starting QB during the Comfort game due to injury.
“We will have to be very sound in what we do to defend them, because they can be explosive on offense,” Martinez said.
According to Coach Shayne Gallegos, he is a bit concerned with their offense due to the leadership at QB.
“Our strength so far has been our defense,” Gallegos said. “My concern right now is our offense, as we have to find a rhythm with a new QB in position.”
“We have to create explosive plays and limit turnovers on offense and we also have to limit explosive plays and create turnovers defensively. We also need our special teams to create short field positions for our offense and long fields for the Natalia offense,” Gallegos said.
According to Coach Martinez, the Pirates base our of an event front but will also get multiple and give different looks.
Last season, the Pirates finished the season 0-10, but have shown a ton of overall improvement and excitement thus far in 2018. They are not the same Pirate squad from a season ago.
Natalia Outlook
The Natalia Mustangs are hoping they can continue to improve in all phases of the game, especially when it comes to their offensive execution, protection and in special teams.
A season ago, one area of strength that stood out was special teams, which allowed for great field position almost every series. This season, the boys in blue continue to try and find their identity, but continue to trust the process and they continue to develop and improve.
“Natalia is always well coached and their kids play hard, especially against us,” Coach Gallegos said.
9th annual Legacy Bowl Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The 9th Annual Legacy Bowl will be Friday night in Natalia at 7:30 p.m. Thanks to 25+ sponsors, the “Rivalry for a Cause” scholarship fund and trophy has been possible.
Following Friday night’s battle, the trophy will be awarded to the winning team as two MVP trophies will be awarded to one offensive and defensive player from each squad.
$4,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to four graduating seniors from the class of 2018 and more $$ will be awarded soon!
$1.00 for each person who enters Mustang Stadium Friday night will be awarded to the 2018-2019 Legacy Bowl Scholarship Fund.
Come out Friday night, arrive early and cheer on the Natalia Mustangs as they host the black and gold for the 58th meeting between the two programs!
#TTP #ChampionshipCulture
By Eric Smith