The Natalia Mustangs got off to a fast start offensively and never looked back en route to a truly dominating victory last Friday night vs. rival Dilley. The Stangs not only used an impressive offensive production to dominate the Frio County squad, Natalia had a solid defensive outing which limited the Wolves to under 100 yards of total offense including two defensive touchdowns.
“I felt we had a lot more patience in letting the game come to us,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez stated when asked what the difference was in week 3 compared to 1 and 2. “We never tried to do too much and we took what they gave us. I thought everyone contributed when their number was called and that made our offense run efficiently.”
Offensively, the Natalia Mustangs as mentioned dominated in all aspects of their rushing and passing game.
After watching the Natalia defense halt Dilley on their first drive, the Mustangs had their first of many great field position drives available with 9:54 to go in the 1st quarter on the Dilley 35 yard line. Natalia used Wyatt Woodson passes to Xavier Vasquez (8 yards) and a huge 3rd and 9 conversion to Enrique DeOsio (26 yards) to set up their first touchdown of the game. This came on a 3-yard Woodson run. The one negative in the game, was the fact Natalia struggled with PATs early again. The PAT failed, as Natalia led 6-0 with 8:40 to go in the 1st quarter.
Dilley got the ball back for their second drive of the game at their own 19 yard line. Nine players later, the Wolves were forced to punt again as Natalia took over at their own 35 yard line with 4:23 to go in the opening quarter.
During this drive, Natalia got their running game going as Elijah Banda rushed in four of six plays during the drive. The biggest play of the drive was on play two though, When Woodson found Coltin Richardson open as he made a nice grab and raced 47 yards. Four players later, Woodson would rush in from 1-yard out giving Natalia their second touchdown of the game with 2:41 to go in the 1st. This time the Stangs tried for two points, but failed.
The Natalia defense rose to the occasion once again on the ensuing drive by DIlley. The Wolves were able to get a 1st down thanks to efforts by their talented and shifty QB Cristian Aranda, but he could only do so much.
Natalia got the ball back with 11:41 to go in the 2nd quarter on their own 47 yard line. Natalia used an Adrian Vasquez run, a Woodson pass to DeOsio to put Natalia down to the Dilley 48 yard line where Natalia faced a big 3rd and 5. Woodson found A. Vasquez open for a huge 24 yard gain and following a horse-collar penalty, it moved Natalia down to the Dilley 12 yard line. Natalia’s Woodson escaped pressure on the next play and threw off his back-foot into the endzone where he found one of his go to men again, A. Vasquez for a huge 12 yard touchdown. This time, the PAT was good, as Natalia increased their lead to 19-0 with 10:12 to go in the 2nd quarter.
Natalia was able to take full control of this game on the ensuing defensive drive. On Dilley’s 3rd play of the drive, Aranda fired for one of his receivers, but Natalia’s Manuel Garcia stepped over and intercepted the pass and raced almost 20 yards for the touchdown. The PAT was good by Woodson, as the Stangs had taken a 26-0 lead.
Something you don’t see very much happen did so on the next Dilley drive. Three plays later, Aranda had another pass intercepted, this time by Natalia’s Jared Stallworth. Stallworth raced down the visitor sideline nearly 25 yards for a true statement touchdown showing Natalia was truly dominating rival Dilley in all aspects of this district battle. The PAT was good, as Natalia’s lead was 33-0 with 7:32 to go in the first half.
The Stangs defense continued to rise to the occasion, as they stopped Dilley on their next drive forcing yet another punt giving Natalia the ball back at their own 41 yard line. Natalia used four plays to score on an Elijah Banda 4-yard run with 2:46 to go in the first half. Woodson was spot on with another PAT, which extended the lead to 40-0.
Dilley finally got their first and final touchdown, on their final drive of the first half thanks to a six play drive. QB Aranda completed a p[ass to Jacent Cantu as they scored on a 21 yard touchdown pass. The two point try was good, bringing the score to 40-8.
Natalia answered the lone Dilley strike, as they used a huge strike from Woodson to X. Vasquez with 11 seconds to go to score their 7th touchdown of the first half allowing Natalia to take a demanding 47-8 lead into the half.
In the second half, Natalia was able to score three final touchdowns in the game. Natalia used a Woodson to X. Vasquez touchdown with 8:56 to go in the 3rd quarter, an E. Banda 27 yard run with 5:00 to go in the 3rd and a nice pass by back-up QB Ryan Rizo to C. Richardson touchdown with 2:28 to go in the 4th to run away with the impressive and solid 67-8 routing of the IH-35 Rival Dilley.
Thoughts from Coach Ilyan Martinez: What went well defensively?”I am very proud of how our defense played. I thought our kids did a great job of executing the plan our staff put together. We played very physical and sound.
Thoughts on holding Dilley under 100 yards of offense? “Anytime you can hold a team under 100 yards of offense, it is a great night. No doubt, that was the difference in the game and I credit Coach Crowther for having his guys ready to play.
Any other thoughts on the win? “Keeping everything in perspective, I thought our kids handled the game well and it shows a lot of maturity on their part. We know we have to get better each week, but I feel like we took a step in the right direction.”
Final Stats: Total Offense: Natalia 439, Dilley 98. Passing: Natalia 328, Dilley 86. Rushing: Natalia 111, Dilley 12. Receiving: Natalia 328, Dilley 86. Penalties-Yards: Natalia 10-110, Dilley 10-82. Turnovers: Natalia 0, Dilley 3. 1st Downs: Natalia 19, Dilley 9. 3rd down conversions: Natalia 4/5, Dilley 4/13.
Natalia Individual Offensive Stat Leaders: Woodson 12-15-280-3TDs, Ryan 3-5-48-1TD. Rushing: E. Banda 8-63-2TD, Woodson 4-14-2TD. Receiving: Richardson 4-100-1TD, A. Vasquez 3-87, X. Vasquez 3-80-2TDs, DeOsio 3-56.
Defensive Stat Leaders: Solo Tackles: Gavin Martinez 9, Devin Perez 6, Manuel Garcia 6, Isaac Rios 3. Assists: Garcia 6, Jacob Navarro 6, Perez 5, Rios 5, Ryan Rizo 2. Tackles for a loss: Garcia 1, Gaylen Garcia 1, Navarro 1. Sacks: Perez 2, G. Garcia 1.5, Navarro 1, Garcia 1. Caused Fumble: Justin Watkins 1.
The Natalia Mustangs continued 15-3A (DivII) action Friday Night in Wilson County vs. the Stockdale Brahmas at 7:30 p.m. See the preview story for more details.
By Eric Smith