Mustangs ready for season opener vs Cole

Varsity Mustang Diego Zapata tiptoes into the end zone during Natalia’s shutout of Sabinal.

The Natalia Mustangs had their final tune-up last Thursday on the road in Uvalde County as they battled the Sabinal Yellowjackets. Aside from out-scoring the home squad 5-0, the biggest thing that stood out was the fact Natalia was much more physical than a good looking physical Sabinal squad who will make noise this season.
The Mustangs punched the Jackets in the mouth early with dominance on both sides of the football and the boys in purple and gold never rose back up to the occasion. Sabinal physically was bigger than the boys in blue up front and at a few positions, but Natalia appeared to be in much better shape physically and more focused on detail and assignment.
“I was pleased with what our kids did on Thursday at the scrimmage,” Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “We know we have a lot of work to do, but I am happy where we are right now.”
Offensively, Natalia was able to score four times in the control scrimmage portion of the event with the final touchdown coming in the live quarter.
QB Juelian Armendariz accounted for two of the touchdowns, as RB Jacob Jass, RB Jared Stallworth and WR Diego Zapata accounted for the three remaining touchdowns.
All of the skilled positions for the boys in blue had great vision of the field and they used blocking by not only the line, but the receivers to control Sabinal from start to finish.
Defensively, the most impressive outing was during a six goal line stance series that both squads had the opportunity to take part in. Natalia snuffed the Jackets and held them out of the endzone. This was as close as the Jackets got to the endzone and it, as mentioned, was by design.
Season Opener
For the first time since 2011, the boys in blue will battle the Cole Cougars in a true Friday night battle. Over the last five seasons, the two have matched up in scrimmage action only.
The Cougars have showed tremendous improvement over the past few seasons and were able to finish with a 6-4 overall record including a 2-3 district mark in a very tough and competitive district.
Despite just missing the playoffs, Cole is picked by most to finish in 2nd place in their new district (15-3A Div. I) just behind the traditionally tough Marion Bulldogs, but ahead of Cotulla, Jourdanton, Karnes City, Lytle and Randolph.
“Coach Reyes and his staff have done a really good job of changing the mentality of their program,” Coach Martinez said. “That has truly shown in their first two scrimmages. We will have to play our best game against them, if we want to be successful.”
According to scrimmage reports, the Cougars are big, physical and as always have plenty of speed available. This has always been the case, but as seen in recent years, they are also a team who at times doesn’t react well against a more “physical team” who hits them in the mouth early and gets up by a touchdown or two which will be key for the Stangs.
“Our staff is committed to having our players ready and I have no doubt our boys will respond at home for our season opener,” Martinez said.
The Mustangs and Cougars will kick-off Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Mustang Stadium! Come Early, Be Loud and Cheer on the Mustangs! Bring the energy and let’s get this season started the right way.
#TTP #ChampionshipCulture
By Eric Smith