Natalia offense sputters vs Bulldogs

Eric Smith
Staff Writer
The Natalia Mustangs dropped their second game of the season last Friday at home vs. a talented Marion Bulldog squad. Natalia showed improvements on both sides of the ball, but unfortunately their offense sputtered out and was unable to produce enough to be successful in a 28-6 loss. Natalia turns their attention to their neighbors, as Devine comes to town for a week 3 battle Friday Night at home.

“I was proud of how our kids responded after how we played the week before,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “I am disappointed that we didn’t have more success this week. I felt we had our opportunities to be in the game, but we didn’t execute consistently enough.”
The Mustangs held their own in the first quarter on both sides of the ball, as things were scoreless after one.
Marion broke loose as Aidan Batey scored from 44 yards out with 8:17 to go in the 2nd quarter to put the Dogs on the board. Jose Molina added the PAT, giving the visiting squad a 7-0 lead.
Marion was able to score one final touchdown in the first half as Bo Stahl scored from 20 yards out giving the Dogs a 14-0 lead following a Molina PAT.
Marion did threaten one final time before half, but Natalia’s Joseph Yanes laid into a Marion WR forcing the ball to pop into the air as Zach Tanner was able to grab interception #2 of the first half. This allowed the Dogs to take a 14-0 lead into the half.
In the second half, Marion was able to add two final touchdowns thanks to the efforts of Bo Stahl who scored from 43 yards out in the 3rd and 25 yards out in the 4th to take a 28-0 lead on the Mustangs.
Natalia was able to get on the board late in the 4th, as Luis Buentello broke loose for a 6-yard run to get the Stangs on the board. The PAT was blocked, as Marion would finish with the victory over the home squad.
“Defensively, we challenged our guys to be more physical and better tacklers,” Martinez said. “Our kids did a great job of that overall. We weren’t as assignment sound and with Marion’s play makers that proved costly. Our defense was also on the field for a long time.”
Marion due to their play-makers did account for 16 1st downs and 187 yards of rushing on 37 carries along with 11 receptions for 139 yards.
“Offensively, we showed some improvement and the ability to move the ball,” Martinez said. “We must put drives together and not shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties, busted assignments, or missed opportunities,” Martinez said. “We are still trying to find a rhythm and groove offensively, but I am encouraged by the progress.”
Natalia finished the game with 85 rushing yards on 31 carries and 7 receptions for 68 yards. Neither team was good on 3rd downs, as Marion was 2-12 and Natalia 3-13. Marion was 2-4 on 4th down and Natalia was just 1-12. 
Buentello led the offense with 2 receptions for 45 yards and 10 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown for the Natalia offense.
On defense, Zachary Tanner led the way with 3 solo tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 pass breakup and 2 interceptions.