The Natalia Mustangs (2-2) will welcome the George West Longhorns (3-1) to town Friday night in what will be a very big 15-3A (Div.II) battle. The Mustangs are coming off a very tough and controversial loss in Stockdale, as the Horns are coming off a land-slide district win vs. Nixon-Smiley.
Following the loss at Stockdale, every game from here on out becomes that much more important, in reference to a playoff spot is concerned. The Mustangs are hoping for a great atmosphere by their crowd, like was seen in Wilson County last Friday night where the crowd was rowdy from start to finish.
George West Preview
The George West Longhorns are back in Natalia’s first for the first time since the 2011-2012 season where the two were in the same conference for four seasons. During those four seasons, GW owned the Mustangs defeating Natalia 59-27 (08-09), 43-7 (09-10), 42-0 (10-11) and 52-20 (11-12). Prior to this, the two were in the same district in the late 90s and early 2000s (1998-2002) and during this time, I believe Natalia won either one or two of the meetings. I know in 2002, they won this to clinch their first playoff appearance since 1989 in Live Oak County.
The Longhorns as mentioned, are off to a 3-1 start as they have the following results thus far: a 38-3 win vs. West Oso, a 41-12 loss to Refugio, a 28-20 win vs. Goliad followed by their 45-0 district opening win last week.
“Their entire offensive line is athletic and physical,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “They come off the ball and do a great job of establishing the line of scrimmage. They have 3 backs that when they get in space, can separate in a hurry.”
Those three backs are: #6 Devon Jackson (Sr.) QB/DB (38-280-7TDs so far) ,. #7 John Zuniga (Sr) FB/LB (21-123-0TDs) and #15 Michael Upton (Sr) RB/DB (42-377-8TDs so far this season).
Offensively, they are going to base out of a 2-back gun and on defense, they like to base out of a 4-2-5 cover 3.
“Their secondary is big and athletic,” Martinez said. “They do a great job of covering a lot of ground. The player we are most concerned about is their middle linebacker Rucker Wallek. He is one of the best LB’s we have seen on tape. He has a nose for the football and never gets tired. We will have to account for him on every play.”
The Natalia Mustangs will need to put the Stockdale game deep in the back of their memory bank and move on, due to the fact they will face a much more talented George West squad. GW will be more of a challenge, due to the fact they will have more offensive weapons at their hands than Stockdale.
“We need to limit our mistakes and take away the big play,” Martinez said. “It will be a good physical game.”
Penalties, turnovers and PATs will be crucial and Natalia must do better in all three areas in order to give themselves a true chance at victory vs. the Horns.
The Stangs must come out strong like they did in Stockdale and also respond well, if they happen to get behind early.
At the end of the day, Natalia always plays well at home and I expect Friday night to be a very close and competitive ball game.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. I will challenge the crowd to be loud and rowdy like you were in Stockdale, yet classy. Come out, Be Loud, Wear Blue and Cheer on the Stangs as they battle the Longhorns. Always remember that TOGETHER, we ACCOMPLISH MORE! Go Blue! #TTP
By Eric Smith