The Natalia Mustangs will host the Sabinal Yellow Jackets (14-2A Div.I) on Thursday evening at Mustang Stadium for their final tune-up prior to the kick-off of the 2019 season. The boys in blue are coming off scrimmage #1 in Brackett last Friday afternoon where they wound up short vs the Tigers in overall scoring by a 2-1 touchdown edge.
According to Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez, he is proud of many of the things he saw in the scrimmage, but also is aware of many evident areas that proved to be costly when all was said and done at Tiger Stadium.
Brackett Scrimmage Re-Wind:
Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez was asked what went well offensively and he had the following to say:
“I thought we moved the ball at will prior to the live quarter,” Martinez said. “Going against a 3-3 stack defense is not something we do on a regular basis, so it was an adjustment for our kids. I thought for the most part our kids handled the attacking defense well. I thought our offense was physical and I was really happy with the way our running backs ran the ball. We were very basic and I think our kids are chomping at the bit to really open it up as we progress. We’re excited to get back to work and look to improve as we move to our second scrimmage.”
What went well defensively?
“The physical play of our defense really set the tone for us in my opinion. We have a lot of new guys on the defensive side this year and to see them play with the same level of intensity as years passed was all we could ask for. I thought our defense did a great job of being in position to make plays and played good physical defense. We know we still need to sure up some positions on the field but it wasn’t because of lack of effort or competitiveness.”
What areas held you back vs. Brackett?
“Not finishing in the red-zone because of turnovers is always frustrating. Nothing we do matters if we don’t take care of the football. Turnovers and penalties are things we can control and for that to be a factor on both sides of the ball is frustrating. Busted assignments in the secondary were also an issue for us that we know we need to improve. Our offense started both drives with a penalty in the live quarter and that put us behind the chains. We were playing catch up after that and couldn’t get the momentum we needed to put a drive together. It was domino effect in my opinion. Our defense had to defend a short field after a short punt. We were out of position on some deep balls and gave them scoring opportunities. They did their job and capitalized on our mistakes. We felt like we learned a lot about ourselves in this first scrimmage. We know where we need to get better and that will be the goal week in and week out moving forward.”
Writer’s Notes: Overall, the Natalia Mustangs were the most dominant team on the field last Friday despite not coming out ahead with more touchdowns scored. The Stangs did not look near as crisp or focused during the live quarter which resulted in the Tigers shining to finish things off.
Natalia’s QB appears to be more crisp and confident with the football and there was a good showing from numerous RBs for the Mustangs as well as from the receivers. Natalia’s run defense also looked pretty good overall.
One of the areas that did hurt the Stangs was when Brackett struggled to find a rhythm offensively. The Tigers began to throw short routes including to a tight-end up many times line up on the line. Natalia did not cover this well and it showed many times, especially down the stretch.
Overall, the Mustangs are ahead of where they were a year ago and will continue to fine-tune many areas of their game as scrimmage #2 approaches this week.
Coach Martinez final thoughts on the Brackett Scrimmage
“Our focus for scrimmage one was to be the most physical football team and to see if we were in great shape. I think our kids lived up to those expectations. We know we missed some opportunities to get in the end-zone and blew some coverage’s that cost us in the live quarter but those are things we know we can fix. Just overall happy with the level at which we played the game.”
JV Mustangs- The Natalia JV Mustangs dominated the Uvalde Freshman Coyotes in every aspect of the game. The Stangs were the more physical squad on the field and punished the Coyotes with both their offense and defense scoring at will.
“We were very pleased with how well our JV competed at the scrimmage on Friday,” Martinez said. Our JV was led by a three headed attack in the back field and a physical offensively line. Defensively our kids played with a great deal of confidence and aggressiveness. I am really happy with where our JV is and how well they are developing for the next level. These are the guys we will really count on in the next few years to help us continue to grow the Championship Culture here.”
Sabinal Jackets coming to town
The Sabinal Jackets led by new Head Coach Rob Goebel are coming to town Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. scrimmage. This will be the second year in a row the Stangs battle former district foe Sabinal in scrimmage action.
Sabinal only returns two starters back on both sides of the football from a squad that struggled a year ago going 0-10, 0-5 in 14-2A Div.I).
“We will have a short week this week as we host Sabinal Yellow Jackets on Thursday,” Martinez said. “Our JV will travel to scrimmage Lytle on Friday (5:00 p.m.) because Sabinal does not have a JV team. Every scrimmage for us is nothing more than an opportunity to get better. We want to use our last scrimmage as a measuring stick for areas to improve. Our expectations will be to see growth from scrimmage one to scrimmage two. We know we have some glaring areas we can be better at and we will focus on that as we prepare for our final scrimmage of camp.”
Come out and support the Varsity Mustangs Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and then again with the JV Stangs in Lytle at Walter Joyce Stadium on Friday at 5:00 p.m. #TTP #ChampionshipCulture
By Eric Smith