Self inflicted wounds, controversial calls, no calls and a struggling offense led to yet another loss in Dilley last Friday night. On paper, it appeared as if the drought dating back to 1989 would end, but when it came down to it, the Dilley Wolves made one more play than the Mustangs resulting in a bit of a shocking 6-0 loss.
“Obviously we are never happy about a loss and this is no different,” Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “Credit Coach Martinez and the Dilley staff for having their boys ready to play. They made the plays down the stretch when they needed to and we didn’t.”
The final drive that set up the game winning score for Dilley began on a controversial call which was par for the course for what fans saw Friday night at Gosch Field when it came to the officials.
With 6:51 to go in the game, Natalia’s Wyatt Woodson ran to the Natalia 49 yard line for a 3 yard run on 3rd and 3. What appeared to many as Woodson losing the ball with his knee down, didn’t appear this way to the officials. Dilley was able to snag the loose ball and one official signaled they would hand the ball over to the Wolves.
Dilley got the football at the 50 yard line with 6:51 to go and they used a 12 play drive to march 50 yards down field before scoring on a 3rd and 2 play from the Natalia 2 yard line with 1:13 to go in the game. This score came courtesy of Julian Cantu. Natalia blocked the PAT, but Dilley had scored the only six points that would matter.
Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez was asked if after reviewing film, it was indeed a fumble and he stated the following: “It is hard to tell from the tape, but those are things we need to clean up, because it shouldn’t have been an issue to begin with if we take care of the football,” Martinez said. “We won’t make excuses, we need to get better.”
Natalia got the ball back at their own 37 yard line, but ran six plays before turning the ball over on downs after completing a pass on 4th and 8 from the Dilley 46 that resulted in yet another costly fumble giving Dilley the ball and the 15-3A (Div. II) victory. This also gave the Wolves their first win of the season and Natalia their second straight disappointing road loss.
“We know we had our opportunities throughout the game, but we couldn’t capitalize,” Martinez said. “We need to get better and we need to coach better. That is what we will do when we get back after it this week.”
According to Martinez, he stated that offensively, they struggled to play at a consistent level and didn’t finish drives.
What had appeared as a much improved and at times potent offense versus Jourdanton and Poteet, looked much more like a struggle unit like they did versus Cole, Randolph and Stockdale. The main issue was the fact Dilley was not better, faster or more aggressive on either side of the football.
Natalia was held to 177 yards of total offense which included only 33 yards of passing and 144 rushing. Natalia didn’t do a good job of protecting the QB Woodson and as a unit, didn’t execute very often in Frio County.
“When you replace eight guys on offense, things are going to be inconsistent and the trust and continuity has to be built,” Martinez said. “We are experiencing that now and it’s going to take time and patience to get where we want, but I know we have the right people in place to get there and I am confident with continued hard work we will get better.”
Defensively, Natalia gave up 299 yards, but they truly played well overall shutting down a number of big plays when they were not awarded by the officials.
“I thought our defense played well enough to keep us in the game most of the night,” Martinez said. “Again, we needed them to step up and make a stop in the end and we could not. That is the area we need to improve the most, is making stops when our backs are against the wall.”
The closest Natalia got to the Dilley endzone was to the Wolff 11 yard line. Natalia got to the Dilley 30 yard line two additional times throughout the game.
Final #s: As mentioned Dilley, out-gained Natalia 299-177. The Wolves ran 58 plays compared to 49 by Natalia. Dilley out-passed Natalia 150-33 and out-gained Natalia on the ground 149-144. Natalia lost 2-2 fumbles and threw one interception. Dilley also edged Natalia 14-13 in first downs.
Poth Pirate Outlook
The loss has Natalia returning to action this Friday as they host the highly touted and district leading and favorite Poth Pirates to town. The Pirates are coming off a huge 56-14 win over Skidmore-Tynan and are currently riding a five game winning streak. Their lone loss this season is to rival Falls City where they lost to the state ranked Beavers 32-13.
“Poth is Poth and they are having a great season,” Martinez said. “They are not as big as they were a year ago, but they have a lot of speed on the field and do a great job of attacking you from start to finish.”
Offensively, Poth is primarily a spread-2-back gun squad.
“They lost their QB who was a special player last year, but they have had a seamless transition with their new QB,” Martinez said. “Her puts them in the best play and executes the offense very well. Their go to guy is a sophomore RB who wears #10. The kid has been special all year and we will have to do a good job of corralling him if we are going to slow down their offense.”
Defensively, Poth is in a 3-4 look with a cover-4 look behind it.
“They are a very athletic squad and do a great job of coming off the football,” Martinez said. “I think their two middle blockers are the best I have seen all year and they read and react very well. Their secondary does a great job of making plays in space.”
Natalia will welcome the Poth Pirates to Mustang Stadium this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Come out and cheer on the boys in blue.
I felt a quote that was posted on twitter stated it best: “Anyone can support a team that is winning- it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage.”
By Eric Smith