Mustangs overpower D’Hanis 42-7

Ray Rizo had a great night for the Mustangs, racking up four touchdowns and 260 yards of offense on 19 carries.

The Natalia Mustangs continued their unbeaten streak with a dominant 42-7 win over the D’Hanis Cowboys to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Natalia Head Coach Chad Graves was pleased with the outcome, saying, “The past three years we have had a huge letdown after the Lytle win. I am happy that our kids locked in and played well against D’Hanis.”
The Cowboys scored their only touchdown of the game just over two minutes to play in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
Natalia immediately went on a long drive on the ensuing kickoff, marching from their own 40-yard line to score on a 13-yard run by Caden Fregia just a few seconds into the second quarter.
On the first play from scrimmage after forcing a D’Hanis punt, Ray Rizo scored on a 73-yard run to put Natalia up 14-7 and give the Mustangs a lead they never relinquished.
The Mustangs held D’Hanis to a four-and-out on the ensuing possession, a poor punt put Natalia in prime position at the Cowboy 25-yard line. Facing a 4th-and-4 situation, Rizo scrambled 19 yards for another touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
Matthew Contreras intercepted an errant pass on the Cowboys’ next possession, giving Natalia good field position again at the D’Hanis 28-yard line. Quarterback Dustin Richardson completed a pass to Julian Martinez for 13 yards and a fresh set of downs, before Rizo picked up another seven yards. Rizo then punched in another touchdown from six yards out to give the Mustangs a commanding 28-7 lead at the half.
The Mustang defense got in on the scoring action in the third quarter, tallying Natalia’s sole touchdown of the period. Fregia pulled in an interception at the D’Hanis 37 yard line and returned it all the way for a touchdown and a 35-7 advantage.
In the fourth quarter, both teams exchanged turnovers on downs before Natalia scored the final points of the game. On 2nd-and-3 at the D’Hanis 39-yard line, Rizo busted out another long touchdown run to seal Natalia’s 42-7 victory.
Natalia had 355 yards of offense in the game while limiting D’Hanis to just 142 yards. The Mustangs picked up 305 rushing yards on 29 attempts, and added another 50 yards through the air on 13 attempts.
Rizo led the offense with 260 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries. Fregia chipped in 22 yards on four carries, and added a touchdown thanks to an interception. Martinez added 14 yards on three carries, and Richardson had 11 yards on two carries.
Richardson was 5 of 13 through the air, connecting once with Martinez for 28 yards, once with Fregia for 19 yards, once with Thomas Lara for three yards, and twice with Rizo for no gain.
Kicker Oscar Alvarez nailed all six of his PAT attempts.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Graves said. “We had two takeaways, one pick-six, and five sacks.”
Graves added that the team needs to work on eliminating penalties on both offense and defense, starting faster on offense, and ball security.
Looking ahead, Natalia’s next game is against Cotulla.
“Cotulla will be a great test to see where we are as a team,” Graves said. “Cotulla is big, fast, and physical. Coach Shull has always done a great job getting his kids to play at a high level.
“Offensively they are back in the gun and spreading the ball around. We will have to get 11 hats to the ball to slow them down.
“Defensively, they are very multiple. They play an even and odd front with man and zone concepts. They are very physical and will bring pressures from all over the field. We must stay calm and apply our rules to move the ball. We cannot have any pre-snap penalties or turnovers.
“I am looking forward to seeing where we are as a team.”
The Mustangs are on the road to take on Cotulla this Friday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 pm.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer