Mustangs march past Lytle in annual Legacy Bowl

The Natalia Mustangs did not come out and play their “A” game vs. rival Lytle, but they did enough to pull away in the 4th quarter en route to their 6th straight win over the Black and Gold. The Mustangs used a solid mix of running and passing to out-gain the Pirates 352-289 in their 26-14 victory last Friday night at Mustang Stadium.
“I felt the gamer lived up to the hype of the rivalry and I was happy we were able to get the win,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “I felt Lytle played a heck of a game and gave us all we could handle for four quarters. I was proud of our team for finding a way to win.”
Natalia got off to a quick start vs. the Pirates, as the Natalia defense forced Lytle to punt after a short lived five play drive.
The Stangs began their first drive of the game at their own 19 yard line. Natalia used a good mix of run-pass to march 81 yards down field thanks to runs by Adrian Vasquez, Nate Banda, Wyatt Woodson along with passes from Woodson to Xavier Vasquez along with A. Vasquez.
On 4th and 2 at the Lytle 8 yard line, Woodson was able to break loose for an 8-yard touchdown run. The two point try was good by Woodson, as Natalia led 8-0 with 4:17 to go in the opening quarter.
The Mustang defense went back to work, as they forced Lytle into another tough situation early in their second drive of the game. QB Carson Aldridge began to shine during this drive, as he took the first play of the second drive 49 yards downfield to the Natalia 23 yard line. Two plays later, Aldridge fumbled the ball after being hit hard and Natalia’s Devin Perez recovered.
Natalia took over at their own 12 yard line. Seven plays later, Woodson had his first pass intercepted by Logan Wilson who played a great first half on both sides of the ball for Lytle.
Luckily for Natalia their defense rose to the occasion again and stopped Lytle forcing a 3-and-out.
Unfortunately, the Stangs could not get much going again on the offensive side of the football giving it back to the black and gold with 10:05 to go in the 1st half at the Natalia 42 after a missed 4th down attempt.
Lytle used a huge roughing the passer call on a failed 3rd and 15 to get a 1st down which proved huge for Lytle. Eight plays later and Justin DeLeon was able to run in from 8-yards out to put Lytle on the board with 4:53 to go in the first half.
This is how things would end at the half, as neither team could capitalize offensively on one extra drive each before the half.
Natalia received the ball to start the second half and began at their own 35 yard line, which turned into their own 25 thanks to a holding call on play one out of the half. Natalia used a mix of passes and runs again, as Woodson connected with X. Vasquez and Jared Stallworth to make things happen through the air. On the ground, A. Vasquez and E. Banda had hardnosed runs as Natalia marched 75 yards down field and scored on a Banda 2-yard touchdown run. This time Natalia lined-up for the PAT, but had the kick blocked again, as Lytle nearly returned this one, but was caught by kicker Woodson.
Natalia led 14-7 with 9:23 to go in the 3rd quarter of play.
After watching Lytle and Natalia swap possessions of the ball, Lytle took their 2nd drive of the game downfield after good field position. Lytle used six plays to cap off a 44 yard drive with a Aldridge touchdown run with 3:21 to go in the 3rd quarter. The PAT by David Aguirre was good, as we were all tied 14-14.
The two squads would swap possessions one time each following the scoring drive, as Natalia went back to work to start the 4th quarter at the Lytle 45 yard line. Natalia used an 8-play drive and capped things off with an Adrian Vasquez 1 yard touchdown run. The PAT failed again, but Natalia now led 20-14 with 8:30 to go in the game.
On the ensuing Lytle drive, Lytle took over at their own 38 yard line. Four plays later, the turning point of the game truly took place. Malakai Castro ran for a 3 yard gain before being hit. The fumble was recovered by Natalia’s Isaac Rios.
Natalia didn’t waste time, as they marched 65 yards down field on a solid 10 play drive. During this drive, there were big runs by Banda, Vasquez along with passes from Woodson to Navarro and Coltin Richardson. Woodson capped off the big drive, with an impressive 17 yard touchdown run to the corner of the visitor sideline of the endzone as he pointed out to the rowdies who tailgated outside the fence for Natalia scoring with 2:17 to go in the game. The two point try failed, but the Mustangs were in control 26-14 with only 2:17 to go in the game.
Lytle took over at their own 32, and used eight plays to march downfield to the Natalia 24 yard-line. Aldridge tossed his lone interception, as Nate Banda came up big once again ending any hopes of a Pirate come-back.
The Mustangs would escape with a 26-14 victory over the Lytle Pirates winning their 6th in a row on the 60th meeting between the two squads as Natalia remained in control of the rival series.
Legacy Bowl MVPs
Lytle QB Carson Aldridge and defender Bubba Solis were named MVPs of the game by the Legacy Bowl committee. For Natalia’s RB Elijah Banda and Defender Jacob Navarro were named MVPs.
Thoughts from Natalia Coach Ilyan Martinez:
“What went well defensively for your squad?”
“I thought our defense did a great job of overcoming some bad situations I put them in. Whether it was a penalty, or going for it on 4th down rather than punting, they were always up for the challenge and answered the bell.”
“What caused a slow game for us offensively?”
“I think we were impatient and looked for the home-run every play. That led to some inconsistencies on a few drives that put us in tough situations. Fundamentally, we need to get better at our process whether it is blocking on a play correctly, or running the ball in the gap it is designed to go, reading our progression on a pass concept, or catching the ball. We just lack consistency right now and that is something we will look to improve this week.”
“Overall, I was just grateful we could play another Legacy Bowl, especially during these times.”
Final Stats: Overall Yards: Natalia 352, Lytle 289. # of plays: Natalia 73, Lytle 55. Passing: Natalia 169, Lytle 70. Rushing: Natalia 183, Lytle 219. Penalties: Natalia 9-82, Lytle 8-60. Turnovers: Natalia 1, Lytle 3. 1st Downs: Natalia 26, Lytle 19. 3rd Down Conversions: Natalia 5-11, Lytle 3-12.
Individual Stats: See the Lytle re-cap for their stats. Natalia: Woodson 17-29-=169-1INT. Rushing: E. Banda 14-72-1TD, A. Vasquez 16-63-1TD, Woodson 13-46-2TDs. Receiving: X. Vasquez 7-64, A. Vasquez 4-47, Richardson 2-21.
Defensive Stat Leaders: Solo Tackles: Devin Perez 7, Gavin Martinez 5, Jacob Navarro 4. Assist: Perez 5, Manuel Garcia 4, Isaac Rios 4. Tackles for a loss: Perez 1, Ryan Rizo 1. QB Hurries: Perez 10, A. Vasquez 6, Rios 4.
Upcoming Game: Due to COVID 19, Natalia will begin District 15-3A (Div.II) this coming Friday as they battle old storied rival Dilley in the IH-35 match-up at home for Homecoming 2020! See the Dilley preview for more on this game.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer