Mustangs set for opener vs. J-Town

Eric Smith
Staff Writer
The Natalia Mustangs and the Jourdanton Indians will kick-off the 2023 Football season this Friday in Natalia which will be one of seven home games for the Stangs this year. Looking back over the last five years, the Tribe holds a 3-2 edge winning the 2022 campaign 48-20. J-Town and Natalia wrapped up their final scrimmage(s) last week and both Head Coaches are excited to kick-off the season.

Scrimmage Recap: The Natalia Mustangs wrapped up scrimmage play vs a feisty Stockdale Brahma squad last Thursday at home.
“I was very pleased with our growth from one scrimmage to the other,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “One of our goals was to be very intentional about what we didn’t do well in scrimmage one and I felt our staff and players did a great job of that this week.”
Stockdale was able to edge the Stands 1 touchdown to 0 in the controlled scrimmage portion thanks to a shifty senior QB who has started the majority of his four years in Wilson County. During the live quarter, that same QB led the Brahmas to two additional touchdowns, while Natalia got on the board with a QB keeper by Senior Landon Woosley thanks to a nice hole created by the offensive line.
“We showed we could play smash-mouth physical football,” Coach Martinez said. “That is our identity and that is what we want to be able to do whenever we want to.” According to Martinez, areas that need improvement are to be consistent in their assignments and to play consistently at a high level.
“Overall, I felt we played a whole lot more physically and with some intent,” Martinez said. “We do need to sure some things up defensively also and continue to be better tacklers.”
Jourdanton Outlook
The Jourdanton Indians are coming off a 10-2 (5-0) season from last season from last season as they welcome back eight offensive and seven defensive starters from their 3A (Div.1) squad.
“Jourdanton has another solid squad,” Martinez said. “Coach Andrus and his staff do a great job of having great depth and having their team ready to play. They are big, physical with a ton of talent on both sides of the football. We will have to play sound football in order to have a chance at beating them.”
The Indian offense will be led by a veteran senior QB Matt Hicks who wears #7 for the Tribe. “Matt is a big, physical kid who can run and throw as well as anyone we will face this season,” Martinez said. “They will go tempo and try to move the ball up and down the field as fast as they can.”
Hicks is a three year starter who will have plenty of weapons around him once again.
Defensively, the Indians will base out of a 4-3. “They are aggressive and do a good job of running the ball,” Martinez said.
Defensively, stand-outs include #55 DT Danilo Lugo and #33 LB Samuel Hillman.
“Lugo is a junior who does a good job coming off the ball and getting blocks,” Martinez said. “Hillman is a senior and is a down-hill player who is always around the football. We will have to know where he is every play.”
Keys to success
Coach Martinez was asked what the keys for success would be for success for this Friday night’s season opened vs. the Indians. “We need to move the ball and get first downs,” Martinez exclaimed. “When we get a chance to put points on the board, we must make the most of it. Defensively, we also can’t give up the big play and have to find a way to get off the field on 3rd downs.”
Kickoff is set
The Indians will be decked out in all “Red” as the Stands will be decked out in all “Blue” as this friendly and competitive non-district battle will get underway at beautiful Mustang Stadium at 7:30 pm. It is “Parents Night” which will take place pre-game. See the Natalia Social Media sites for the start time for this event. “I expect this to be a physical game and the team who makes the fewest mistakes will win,” Martinez said. “We are calling on ALL OF Natalia to come out, be loud and WEAR BLUE,” Martinez exclaimed!
Tickets will be available once again this season on TicketSpicket.
Recent Game History: 2018 – 34-28 Natalia win, 2019 – 58-18 Jourdanton win, 2020 – 49-24 Jourdanton win, 2021 – 20-14 Natalia win, 2022 – 48-20 Jourdanton win.