Natalia wins 8th straight vs. rival Lytle

Lylte Pirate #4 Connor Martin soars up to try and secure a catch as Natalia’s #9 Paul Zapata closes in. Photos courtesy of Mike Quintero/Texas Sport Shots, www.texassportshots.

Eric Smith
Staff Writer
The Lytle Pirate offense came out and looked sharp in their opening drive last Friday night vs. rival Natalia. They used a 10 play, 70 yard drive before settling for a field-goal. Natalia made adjustments defensively, and this would be the only three points for the Black and Gold. Natalia on the other hand reeled off 47 points en route to a 47-3 win.
“I felt like we finally got into a rhythm for the first time all year and we didn’t put ourselves in bad situations,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said when asked about his team’s first win of the season.
The Pirates received to start the game and got the ball at their own 30 yard line. Lytle used a nice mix of runs by Connor Martin and passes by Freshman QB Toby Davila to players like Darren Martinez and Rudy Cepeda to get down to the Natalia 11 yard line. Unfortunately for the Black and Gold, they had to settle for a 28 yard field goal by Marcos Alvarado with 8:15 to go in the 1st quarter.
Natalia got the ball at their own 42 yard line and went to work quickly. Jaieden Burford came out with a nice pass to Josh San Miguel for a 33 yard gain to set the tone. Two runs in a row by Luis Buentello was capped off with two runs by QB Burford and a Natalia touchdown with 6:38 to go in the 1st quarter. This capped off a 5-play 58 yard drive. The PAT by Miguel Sanchez was good, as Natalia led 7-3.
Lytle came out with their second drive of the evening, but unfortunately could not get anything going as the Natalia defense rose to the occasion forcing a 3 and out punt.
Natalia got the ball at the 50-yard line with 5:58 to go in the 1st quarter and went to work. Natalia used 15-plays of a good pass and run mix to score as Burford found Elijah Banda to score his first of four touchdowns on the night on a 23 yard receiving touchdown. The PAT by Sanchez was good, as Natalia extended their lead to 14-3.
Things only got worse for Lytle in their opening quarter, as their third drive of the game went south quickly. Freshman Davila, who had shown lots of positives early with his arm and mobility, threw up a long ball for a receiver over the middle, but Natalia’s Paul Zapata soared into the air and intercepted it. Natalia got the ball at the Lytle 14 and needed one play to strike. Burford found David Silva for a 14 yard play to give the Stangs a 21-3 lead with 11:32 to go in the 2nd quarter following a Sanchez PAT.
On the ensuing drive, Lytle began to find success as they started at their own 34 yard line. Lytle used eight plays to march down field to their own 48 yard line before the Natalia defense ended the threat again, this time with a David Silva interception.
Natalia got the ball at their own 42 yard line with 7:31 to go in the 1st half and went back to work. Natalia needed just eight plays to march down field and score on a nice hard run by Elijah Banda. The PAT by Sanchez was blocked, but Natalia’s lead was now 27-3 with 4:36 to go in the 1st half. This is how the score would stand at the half.
Natalia scored their first touchdown in the second half with 4:20 to go in the 3rd quarter, as Banda capped off a six-play 40 yard drive with a 3-yard run. The PAT was blocked again by Lytle, but Natalia’s lead was now 33-3.
The Mustangs went on to score two final touchdowns in the game. One came as Burford found Justin Curiel on an 11 yard strike and the final touchdown was on a 37 yard run by Banda giving Natalia a solid 47-3 victory.
“Everything we do starts up front and offensively we were physical and sound in our assignments,” Martinez said. “This allowed our RBs to have a big game on the ground and allowed for our QB to have time to make some plays downfield.”
Coach Adrian Trevino was asked his thoughts on the loss vs. Natalia and had the following to say: “We felt that there were some things offensively and defensively that our team did well,” Trevino said. “There were also some things we didn’t do well enough to keep us in the game. Our kids continued to play hard and if we capitalized on some of the opportunities given, we feel we could have possibly changed the momentum of the game.”
Final Team Stats: Natalia led offensively as they used 62 plays to account for 413 yards of offense which included 162 passing and 251 rushing. Lytle used 51 plays to account for 240 yards of offense which included 164 passing and 76 rushing. Rushing wise, Natalia ran 44 times for 251 yards for an average of 5.7. Lytle rushed 26 times for 76 yards for an average of 2.9. Receiving Natalia had 13 for 162 for an average of 12.5 as Lytle had 9 for 164 for an average of 18.2. Penalties- Both teams had too many as Natalia had 12-107 and Lytle 13-105. Lytle had 4 turnovers and Natalia had 2. Natalia dominated the 1st down mark with 21 compared to 11 by Lytle. Neither team was great on 3rd down, as Natalia was 4-11 and Lytle 3-12.
Individual Stat Leaders: Burford led Natalia at QB and was 12-17-141-3TDs-1INT. Toby Davila was 9-25-164-4INTs. Rushing: Banda was 9-94-3TDs as Buentello was 18-94 and Burford was 14-90. Davila led on the ground for Lytle as he was 13-56 as Martin was 2-14. Receiving: San Miguel led Natalia was he was 3-71 as Silva was 7-55-1TD. Cepeda led Lytle with 4-112 as Martin was 2-32.
Defensive Stat Leaders: Natalia: Assists: Simon Garcia 6, Austin Sutton 3, Luis Buentello 3, AZ Zapata 3. Solo Tackles- Sutton 6, Garcia 5, RJ Velasquez 3. Pass break-ups: Silva 1, Gerardo Colchado 1, Zapata 1, David Rodriguez 1. Interceptions: Silva, Zapata, San Miguel 1 each.
Lytle: Albert Aguilar- 12 solo tackles/4 assists/1 forced fumble; Anthony Perdomo 7 solo tackles/4 assists; Roland Cordova 3 solo tackles/2 assists; Drew Gonzales- 4 solo tackles/1 assists/1 tackle for a loss/1 QB Sack; Luke Estrada- 3 solo tackles/ 1 assist; Jake Guevarea- 3 solo tackles/2 assists/1 QB sack.
Coachs final comments
“We need to continue to work on being consistent in all phases of the game,” Trevino said. “We feel if we could have executed better in the red-zone and in the goal-line areas, it would have given us more momentum early.”
Martinez was asked his thoughts on winning 8 straight vs. Lytle.
“We feel fortunate to be a part of that, but I am really proud of our player’s approach to the tradition that was built here and the importance of the game to the alumni and community,” Martinez said. “Our guys understand the significance of the game and we were focused on the task at hand. We enjoyed and are happy with the outcome, but we need to re-focus and get ready for a tough district.”
Upcoming Games
Natalia will have the week off as they enter the open week 1-3 in a tough four slate of contests ion non-district. Natalia opens district play on Friday, September 30th on their brand new turf field vs. the Comfort Bobcats.
Lytle will prepare for their final non-district game at home Friday vs. Pearsall. See the preview story for further details.