One of the great rivalries of South Texas will battle this coming Friday, as Natalia and Lytle will take the field for the 63rd time since 1933. Lytle is riding high as they enter with a 3-0 mark as the Mustangs enter 0-3 facing three tough challenges in a row. This will also mark the “14th” Legacy Bowl game as Natalia has won eight in a row and holds the overall record 34-26-3 historically.
A look back at history
The first Legacy Bowl was in 2004-2005 when Lytle was able to win a 25-24 thriller over Natalia at Walter Joyce Stadium. This would be the first of six in a row for the Pirates including: 05-06: 23-14. That would be the last year for the next few due to vandalism done to school property as the series resumed in 2012-2013w with a 35-33 win for LHS. Other wins: 13-14: 41-13, 14-15: 42-20. In 2015-2016 Natalia won their first of eight in a row with the following results: 15-16: 19-6, 16-17: 34-21, 17-18: 30-3, 18-19: 7-6, 19-20: 6310, 20-21: 26-14, 21-22: 41-0 and last year was 47-3 in favor of the Natalia Mustangs.
Lytle Pirate Preview
The Lytle Pirates will enter Mustang Stadium Friday night riding their first 3-0 start in many years with victories over Carrizo Springs, SA Kennedy and West Campus. Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez was asked his thoughts on the Pirates and he had the following to say:
“Offensively, they are a spread-option team this season and they use multiple formations to give themselves the numbers to attack a side and use their athleticism at their skill positions to make plays in space,” Martinez said.”
According to Martinez, when he looks at the Pirates on field, one of their offensive stand-outs is their sophomore QB Toby Davila. “He is their bell cow and is the engine to their offense,” Martinez said. “He is very athletic and does a great job of putting his team in great situations. He can run and throw the ball very well and we will have to do a good job to contain him.”
According to Martinez, the Pirates defense will base out of a 3-4 this season and will run some man concepts, but mostly sit in a cover-4.
“They rely on their defensive line to create havoc and allow their linebackers and secondary to swarm to the ball,” Martinez said. “They haven’t given up a defensive score in three games and they are the strength of their team in my opinion.”
Stand-outs defensively per Coach Martinez for the Pirates include:
57 Mario Diaz- “He is a senior nose and has great ball get-off. He will create some issues for offensive lines.”
77 Devin Cordova- “He is a sophomore defensive tackle and is a big, physical kid who creates some match-up issues.”
50 Jacob Guevara- “He is a senior defensive tackle and he does a great job of getting off the ball and penetrating. He will have to account for him up front.”
Natalia Mustang Preview
The Natalia Mustangs as mentioned, enter the game 0-3 with tough losses to good Jourdanton, Marion and Devine squads. Lytle Head Coach Mike Trevino had the following to say when asked about facing the Mustangs:
“Natalia has had a tough regular season schedule that allows them to prepare and get ready for what they have coming up,” Trevino said. “Regardless of records, they are going to bring it. Yes, it is a rivalry game, but they are a well coached team and Coach Ilyan Martinez and his staff will have those boys ready every Friday night.”
Trevino was asked who stands out for the boys in blue and stated the following:
“This is one of the best offenses we will face early on this season,” Trevino said. “Their Freshman QB Buentello is one of their play makers and loves the ball in his hands. Defensively, their LB group play very well and will make plays when they need it most.”
Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez was asked what he will have to do in order to be successful vs. Lytle.
“We will have to play assignment-sound defense against their triple option offensive attack,” Martinez said. “We will have to find a way to slow down Davila and be great tacklers. Offensively, we will have to account for their front three defensive line guys as they set the tone up front and create negative plays with their aggressiveness. We will have to settle in early and establish ourselves, or they could make things difficult as the game progresses.”
A look back a season ago
Lytle was able to strike first last year, as then Freshman QB Davila led the Pirates on an opening drive with big plays to Darren Martinez and Rudy Cepeda to get the Pirates in position for a 28-yard field goal by Marcos Alvarado with 8:15 to go in the 1st Q. This would be the only score for the Black and Gold. Natalia reeled off 47 in a row en route to the win.
Natalia finished with 62 plays to account for 413 yards on offense including 162 passing and 251 rushing. Lytle used 51 plays to account for 240 yards of offense including 164 passing and 76 rushing. Lytle did have 4 turnovers in the game and Natalia had 2.
Natalia has won eight in a row
When both coaches were asked about the streak, neither truly wanted to harp or focus on that.
“Like I said before, what’s next,” Trevino said. “It’s out windshield mentality that has us focused on Friday night. We won’t change our routine and we will continue to lean on our love and leadership approach and create opportunities throughout the week to prep us for what’s to come. Our plan is to go 1-0 this week like we have done the last three weeks. We will continue to run our race and put our head down and eyes forward.”
“I have no thoughts or challenges that exist more than any other game for us,” Natalia Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “We aren’t going to downplay what this means to the two communities, but for us we are going to prepare like we always do. Our process never changes regardless of the opponent and we are going to control the things we control and prepare to play our best game.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
It is Natalia Homecoming in addition to this being a “Legacy Bowl Battle”. Pre-game ceremonies will begin at 6:30 p.m. for Natalia High Homecoming Clubs with the Homecoming Court set for half-time.
Gates will open at 6:00 p.m. and extra chairs have been brought in on both sides of the stadium for the high school bands to make extra room for fans in the stands.
It’s Natalia vs. Lytle for the 63rd time! Be sure to come out early, grab a great seat and prepare for what we are expecting to be a very intense, physical and great battle between two talented and well-coached squads. Who wants it? It’s time to #TTP and “Dig Deep” and see who comes out on top Friday night in Natalia, Texas! See you at the 7:30 p.m. kickoff and stay around after to Legacy Bowl Ceremonies where the winning trophy and other accolades will be awarded.