Natalia opens season at #7 Jourdanton Friday

The Natalia Mustangs will open their 2020 season Friday night in Atascosa County, vs. the highly touted #7 state ranked (Padilla Poll) Jourdanton Indians. This will be arguably be the toughest game of the season on the schedule for Natalia, as the Indians are not only picked to win District 14-3A (Div.I), but return six offensive and eight defensive starters along with 30 lettermen to assist Big Red.
Jourdanton Outlook
“Jourdanton will be as good as advertised,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “Coach Darrell Andrus and his staff have done a great job of building a powerhouse of a team and we will have to play our best game to give us an opportunity to compete.”
Two seasons ago, the Natalia Mustangs were able to shock highly touted Jourdanton at Indian Stadium in a huge come-back when Woodson found former Mustang Diego Zapata in the end-zone for a thrilling 34-28 victory.
The key to victory during this game aside from executing on both sides of the football (357 yards for Natalia, 192-Jourdanton) was putting pressure on QB Cole Andrus as they were able to not only pressure him a number of times, but sacked him for a loss in a number of situations.
A season ago, Andrus looked like a pro, as the Mustangs were unable to put pressure on him, as he dominated the game from start to finish. J-Town used their huge offensive line to keep Natalia on their heels, as the Tribe rushed for 350 yards and passed for 297 yards with 3TDs and 0 INTs en route to a dominating 58-18 victory over Natalia.
“They are an up-tempo offense and their senior QB commands the offense as good as anyone we will see all year,” Martinez said. “He does a great job of putting the offense in the best play and they will go fast and try to overwhelm you with their tempo. We will have to find a way to slow them down.”
QB Andrus as mentioned is a senior and a season ago, passed for 2,750 yards, 39 TDs throwing only 5 INTs and also rushed 300 yards with three touchdowns for the Tribe.
His go to man is #6 senior Jarel Lilly who had 51 receptions for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns. In the back-field, Aiden Borth who wears #24 rushed for 900 yards and 13 touchdowns for the offense.
According to Martinez, they primarily run an event front with multiple coverages on the back end.
“They are fast and athletic,” Martinez said. “I am very impressed with how well their line gets off the ball and their line-backers can cover a lot of ground. Their secondary is also very athletic and don’t make many mistakes.”
Coach Darrell Andrus enters year #7 for the Indians. He was asked his thoughts on his squad and stated the following: “Our strength is the fact we have eight seniors who are all four year lettermen,” Andrus said. “My concern is we graduated all five starting offensive linemen and I am worried we will struggle to block a strong physical front like Natalia’s.”
Natalia Outlook
The Natalia Mustangs showed their ability to utilize a number of offensive weapons against Bandera and also the ability to protect QB Wyatt Woodson who enters his senior season with the Stangs. The fact of the matter when it comes to facing Jourdanton is it may be hard to “stop” the Indians, so the Natalia offense will be tasked with staying up with the Indians when it comes to offensive production.
“We will need to play our game and cut down on mistakes,” Martinez said.
According to Andrus, their focus will be trying to slow down # 2 Woodson.
“We will have to play fast, physical football to win this game and limit our mental mistakes,” Andrus said. “Our defense will need to try and contain #2 and our offense will need to run our fast offense to slow down Natalia’s push up front.” “We know Natalia is a very well coached team and has a great group of seniors that are coming off a playoff win and we look forward to the match-up Friday night.”
If Natalia wants to make this a truly and competitive ball game, they must find a way defensively to put pressure on QB Andrus and take him down a few times early to force him into thinking more. He was too comfortable a season ago in the pocket. They will also have to find a defender, who can pop Lilly right off the snap on the line, forcing to make his job tougher.
Offensively, Natalia must manage the game up-front and be smart and not panic if they happen to get down early. The great thing we saw in Bandera is the fact there should be a lot more assistance available this season in addition to Woodson’s big play ability.
This should be a fun one in Atascosa County as the Stangs and Tribe will kick-off at 7:30 p.m. See Natalia Sports Social Media for ticket information and remember all spectators must have a mask on in Atascosa County according to Coach Andrus.
“Come Early, Be Loud, Wear Blue and Back The Stangs”! #TTP
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer