Mustangs suffer setback in Stockdale

Mustang running back Jimmyray Gutierrez fights through a tackle.

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For a fourth straight week, the Natalia Mustangs dominated the statistical portion of the game. Unfortunately, on the scoreboard at Bobby Russell Field last Friday night, the Mustangs were held scoreless until they found life in the 4th quarter. The boys in blue battled hard and rallied late, but when the clock expired, the Stangs found themselves with a tough District 15-3A (Div.II) opening loss in Wilson County.
“We are very disappointed in the results of the game, but I am proud of our staff and kids for fighting until the end,” Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “We couldn’t finish drives in the red zone when we needed to and defensively we couldn’t get the stops when they counted.”
Per tradition, it was a sluggish game in Stockdale that lacked that true Friday night football atmosphere. As a result, it was a scoreless first half in Stockdale, although Natalia had more offensive yards at the half than the Brahmas. The closest anyone came to the opponents endzone, was on a drive for Natalia that stalled out at the Brahmas 15 yard line. Natalia attempted a 4th and 9 and only managed a 1 yard pass turning the ball over on downs.
In the second half, Natalia got the football to begin action. Unfortunately, on the 2nd play of the drive for the Mustangs, Stockdale stripped the ball from the Natalia QB and took over at the Natalia 30. The Brahmas used a 26 yard pass play and two runs before QB Alonzo Marquez found the endzone for the Brahmas. The PAT was blocked by Natalia, but Stockdale led 6-0 with 9:42 to go in the 3rd quarter.
The Brahmas added to their lead in the 4th quarter, as they used an eight play drive to cap off a 35 yard field goal attempt with 11:16 to go in the game to extend their lead to 9-0.
Natalia took over for their first drive of the 4th quarter with 11:16 to go at their own 34 yard line. Natalia drove down field on a mixture of runs and passes before Natalia was intercepted by Erick Baudains and returned 62 yards for the Brahma touchdown which appeared to be the final dagger of the contest. The two point try was good, as Stockdale had taken a 17-0 lead which had the Natalia sideline and faithful in complete shock.
Never say die, the Mustangs got the football back with *;22 to go at their own 32 yard line and went to work. Natalia used a 12 play drive which included passes from Woodson to Evy Curiel, Michael Martinez, Faelan Villarreal as well as runs by Woodson and Gutierrez to march downfield. Natalia capped off the nice drive with a Gutierrez 2 yard touchdown run. The Diego Hernandez PAT was good, as Natalia got on the board with 4:38 to go.
Natalia attempted an onside kick and almost got it, but Stockdale took over at their own 49 yard line. The Brahmas ran three plays, before the Natalia defense forced the Brahmas to punt.
The Mustangs got the ball back at their own 19 and needed only one play to strike. Woodson found Curiel in what turned out to be a huge throw, catch and 81 yard touchdown run. The PAT was good, as Natalia was within 17-14 of the Brahmas.
Natalia attempted the onside kick again, but unfortunately the ball went out of bounds.
Defense was needed and the Stangs nearly came through before Stockdale got a first down as time expired giving the Brahmas a slight 17-14 upset win over the Mustangs.
“We just need to continue to get better and fix the areas where we play inconsistent,” Coach Martinez said. “We will address those issues this week and I know our staff and kids will be hungry to get back onto the field Friday night in Frio County.”
Final Stats
The Natalia Mustangs finished with a 339-204 offensive advantage. Natalia ran 58 plays compared to 41 by the Brahmas. Natalia out-gained Stockdale through the air 182-39 and was edged on the ground 165-157. Natalia had 2 turnovers compared to 1 by the Brahmas. Natalia also had 17 1st downs compared to 9 by Stockdale.
Passing- Woodson 14-21-182-1TD-1INT. Receiving- Curiel 3-99-1TD, Martinez 4-35, Gutierrez 2-23, Villarreal 3-20. Rushing- Gutierrez 24-108-1TD, Woodson 12-48. Punts- Woodson 2-84-42.0 average.
Upcoming Game
The Natalia Mustangs (3-3, 0-1) will square off with the Dilley Grey Wolves (0-6, 0-1) this coming Friday night in Frio County at 7:30 p.m. at Gosch Field. See the Dilley story for more details.
By Eric Smith