Mustangs march past Poteet 27-14

#4 Ryan Juarez and #10 Juelian Armendariz tackle an Aggie as #23 Jared Stallworth moves to help. Click here to see more photos from the game!

Click here to see more photos from the Mustangs’ Homecoming victory over Poteet!

The Natalia Mustangs (3-2) were able to overcome a slow start offensively to pick up a convincing home victory 27-14 over the Poteet Aggies (0-4) last Friday night. The win allowed the boys in blue, to win their third straight non-district battle as they finished off the first half of their season with yet another positive result.
“We continue to get better as a team,” Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “We had some penalties and turnovers that put us in bad situations, but I am proud of the way our boys continue to respond.”
The Natalia Mustang offense continued to show overall improvement (393 yards), as the defense showed yet another gritty outcome. The Mustang defense, held the Aggies to 141 yards on the night, which included 93 passing yards and 48 rushing. One huge positive was the fact Natalia forced four Poteet turnovers, including one fumble which was recovered and three interceptions.
“Defensively, I felt like we did a great job of being physical up front,” Martinez said.
After a scoreless first quarter in which Natalia had their chances, but threw an interception in the endzone, it was the Aggies that were able to strike first in the second quarter of action.
Although the defense had an all around gritty performance, there were a few busted coverage’s which proved costly on their first defensive test vs Poteet. The Aggies relied on QB Daryn Garza, who basically tried to create opportunities on the night single handily many times throughout the night. Garza led the Aggies on a five play drive before scoring. Facing 4th and 12 at the Natalia 30, Garza found Luis Guzman for a 30 yard touchdown. The two point try failed, but the Aggies led 6-0 with 10:20 to go in the first half.
Natalia scored their first touchdown of the game, on their first drive of the second quarter. Natalia began their drive at their own 37 yard line. Natalia used a 10 play drive to move down the field. This included runs by Jimmy Ray Gutierrez, a Wyatt Woodson to Xavier Vasquez pass, Jacob Jass runs and a touchdown pass from Woodson to Vasquez for a 24 yard strike on a 4th and 7 play. Matthew Billalobos put the PAT thru the up-rights, as the Mustangs took a 7-6 lead they would end up taking into the half.
In the second half, Natalia received the football and this is when they began to take things over. Natalia’s Jared Stallworth returned the ball to the Natalia 45 yard line where Natalia began their first drive of the second half. Natalia showed a different look during this drive, as Diego Zapata ran a little wildcat action from the backfield. Zapata accounted for seven of fifteen plays during the drive and 32 yards out of the 55 yard drive.
Gutierrez added four runs in the drive as Woodson capped off a 3rd and 2 at the Poteet Aggie 2 yard line with a touchdown run with 5:38 to go in the 3rd quarter. This was a classic ball control quarter which took a huge chunk of clock off. The PAT by Billalobos was good again, as Natalia extended their lead to 14-6.
On the ensuing drive by the Aggies, the Natalia defense rose to the occasion again, forcing a three and out stopping the Aggies who went for it at their own 46 yard line on 4th and 3.
Natalia took over on a short field and made the Aggies pay. Gutierrez and Woodson used six combined runs to get down to the Aggie 14 yard line where Natalia was faced with 4th and 4. Natalia’s Woodson came up clutch, as he found Matthew Contreras for a 13 yard touchdown strike. The PAT was good by Billalobos, as Natalia extended their lead to 20-6 with 47 seconds to go in the 3rd quarter.
The Natalia defense rose to the occasion once again to start the 4th quarter, as they forced a Poteet punt on the Aggies ensuing drive. Natalia got the ball back at their own 32 with 11:11 to go in the game.
After watching a play called back for holding and an incomplete pass, Natalia was faced with a 2nd and 17 from their own 25 yard line. This is when Woodson connected with #20 Evy Curiel for a phenomenal play. Curiel who came up big versus Jourdanton, had a similar catch and run for a 75 yard Natalia touchdown. This gave the Homecoming crowd plenty to cheer about, punching one final nail into the coffin of the Aggies. The PAT was good, as Natalia extended their lead to 27-6.
Poteet scored one final time in the game, as they capped off an 11 play drive that lasted just under 5:00 minutes to go in the game. They scored on a one yard Garza run, but it was not enough. The Natalia Mustangs defeated the Aggies for a second straight season, 27-14.
“Once we settled down offensively and stopped shooting ourselves in the foot, we got into a rhythm,” Martinez said. “We still have a lot to work on, but I see a lot of progress in our offense.”
Natalia finished with impressive offensive #s overall as they accounted for 393 yards on 70 plays as they held the football for 31:10 minutes compared to only 16:40 by the Aggies. Natalia finished with 184 yards passing and 209 rushing on 51 carries.
Natalia had 8 penalties for 75 yards compared to 6-30 by the Aggies. Natalia did have two turnovers including a fumble and the interception. Natalia had 21 1st downs compared to 9 by the Aggies. One impressive stat was Natalia going 4-7 on 4th down conversions.
Coach Martinez was asked about his thoughts on any players who might have stood out and he had the following to say:
“Xavier Vasquez had another great game for us,” Martinez said. “He had two interceptions and put our offense in some good situations. I also thought Jimmy had another solid performance surpassing the 100 yard mark again.”
Individual Stat #s: Natalia Passing-Wyatt Woodson 7-14-137 passing-3TDs. Julian Armendariz 3-5-47-1INT. Rushing- Gutierrez 26-110, Woodson 10-44-1TD, Jass 7-26, Zapata 6-21, Armendariz 2-8. Receiving- Curiel 2-94-1TD, Vasquez 3-42-1TD, Michael Martinez 1-19, Contreras 1-13-1TD.
“I thought this was another great team win,” Martinez said. “The community was great and supportive, so it made for a fun atmosphere.”
Open week
The Natalia Mustangs will have a bye week this week as they prepare for their district opener on October 12th on the road in Stockdale.
“This will be a great opportunity for us to get some kids healthy and prepare for a tough district road ahead,” Martinez said. “It will be another very tough district slate and we will need to be playing sound football if we want to achieve our goal of competing for a district title.”
By Eric Smith