Pre-game ceremony backfires as Natalia dominates Dilley

Varsity Mustangs #10 Jacob Navarro, #23 Landon McDole, #42 Austin Guzman, and #30 Isaac Rios watch as #44 Manuel Garcia and a teammate stop the Dilley ball carrier.

The Dilley Grey Wolves ran onto Mustang Field and planted their flags in the Natalia Mustang Logo at mid-field at the start of last Friday night’s IH-35 Rival Battle. When the Mustangs ran out of their tunnel, they forced the Wolves off of their mid-field logo and this was just the start of Natalia forcing Dilley off the field.
This was as creative as the Dilley Wolves got, as the Natalia Mustangs dominated this battle from start to finish en route to their second biggest victory in program history with a 71-0 victory over the Frio County squad. This marked just the 4th time Natalia defeated Dilley since 1989, all of those wins coming at Mustang Stadium.
“Keeping everything in perspective, I was proud of the complete game our team played,” Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “This was another great team win for our program and community.”
The Natalia defense started strong and never let up, as they shut down the Dilley offense early. Dilley got one of just three 1st downs on their opening drive, courtesy of a roughing the kicker penalty. Three plays later following the punt attempt, Dilley was punting again.
Natalia got the ball with 7:17 to go in the 1st quarter and went to work. Natalia needed to drive the short field (44 yards). Natalia’s first of many touchdowns came on a Wyatt Woodson pass to Diego Zapata for a 9 yard strike with 6:09 to go in the opening quarter. After an off-sides penalty on the PAT attempt, Natalia went for 2-points and Woodson ran in allowing the Stangs to take an 8-0 lead.
After forcing Dilley into another three and out on the ensuing drive, Natalia took over at their own 49 yard line with 3:29 to go in the 1st quarter. This time, the Stangs needed five plays to strike on an Adrian Vasquez run. The PAT by Diego Hernandez was good, as the Stangs led 15-0 with 2:30 to go in the 1st quarter.
The Mustang defense never let up, as they shut down the Dilley run game giving QB Aranda and his squad of backs fits the entire night. Natalia once again forced Dilley into a 3 and out. Things only got worse for Dilley, as Natalia blocked the punt attempt. This gave Natalia the ball at the Dilley 3 yard line with 1 second to go in the 1st quarter.
Wyatt Woodson was able to run in for yet another Mustang touchdown as 1 second was left on the clock. The PAT was up and good, as Natalia had stormed ahead of Dilley 22-0, which had the Mustang faithful on their feet loving what they were seeing.
In the second quarter, Natalia never let up. Dilley did get two additional first downs in the second quarter. One came courtesy of a penalty and one courtesy of one of their only passes of the game. Needless to say, not much else went Dilley’s way.
After shutting down the Wolves on the ensuing drive, Natalia took over at their own 21 yard line. Natalia used a big pass play to Zapata, two runs by Woodson followed by a huge pass from Woodson to Jass to score from 34 yards out. The PAT was good, as Natalia led 29-0 with 8:42 to go in the 1st half.
Natalia finished the first half with touchdowns by Jacob Navarro from 2 yards out (1:38 to go 1st half) and capped off the 1st half with a commanding touchdown as time expired by Wyatt Woodson from 3 yards out allowing Natalia to go into the half up 43-0.
In the second half, Natalia produced more of the same, as their defense remained dominant and their offense had another three touchdown 3rd quarter.
In the 3rd, Natalia took up where they left off as they marched 60 yards downfield on the opening drive. They scored on a Woodson 42 yard pass to Zapata who allowed the Stangs to put 50 on the board with 10:33 to go in the 3rd quarter.
Other touchdowns in the quarter came on a 24 yard run by Jass and a pass from recent JV QB Ryan Rizo to Jacob Navarro who bulled his way in from 20 yards out. This allowed Natalia to take a 64-0 lead into the 4th quarter.
Natalia’s final touchdown came with 7:30 to go in the game, as recent JV RB Nate Banda scored on a nice 20 yard run. The PAT was good by Hernandez, allowing Natalia to put their second most points in program history on the board in a huge 71-0 victory over Dilley.
“Our focus week in and week out is always about trying to improve who we are as a team,” Coach Martinez said. “I was pleased with how we handled the game from start to finish. We got a little better on Friday and that is always going to be our focus. It was a great team win and everyone had a hand in the success of the game. Our coaches and boys were ready to play and we played for one another.”
Final Stats
Natalia out-gained Dilley 447 yards to 50 as Natalia ran 41 plays compared to 38 by Dilley. Natalia averaged 10.9 yards per play as Dilley averaged 1.3.
Natalia passed for 245 yards compared to 20 by Dilley and Natalia rushed for 202 yards compared to 30 by Dilley.
Natalia had 7 penalties for 65 yards as Dilley had 6-40. Natalia had 0 turnovers and Dilley had 2. Dilley punted 8 times for an average of only 26.9 as Natalia punted 0 times. Natalia also had 24 1st downs compared to 3 by Dilley. Natalia was also 4-5 on 3rd downs and 1-1 on 4th as Dilley was 1-12 on 3rd downs.
Individual Stats
Natalia’s Wyatt Woodson was 10-12-225-3TDs as Vasquez led the receiving core with 2 receptions for 67 yards. Zapata had 4-63-2TDs as Jass had 2-56-1TD. Navarro had 2-33 yards-1TD and Michael Martinez had 1 catch for 26 yards.
Rushing, Woodson ran 8-55-2TDs as Banda had 6-50-1TD. Jass was 4-45-1TD and Adrian Vasquez 5-31-1TD.
Isaac Martinez: 7 Assist, 2 Solo, 2 TFL, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Sack, 1 Big Hit; Michael Martinez: 7 Assist, 3 Solo, 3 TFL, 2 QB Hurries, 2 Sack, 2 Big Hit/ Ryan Rizo: 1 Assist; Jacob Navarro: 7 Assist, 3 Solo, 3 TFL, 2 Sack; Evy Curiel: 2 Assist, 1 Solo; Isaac Rios: 1 Assist; Austin Guzman: 2 Assist, 2 Solo, 1 TFL, 2 QB Hurries; Manuel Garcia: 9 Assist, 2 Solo, 4 TFL, 1 Sack; Justin Watkins: 2 Solo; Buda Soto: 5 Assist, 2 Solo, 2 TFL, 1 Fumble Recovery; Vincent Cruz: 4 Assist, 1 Solo, 2 TFL, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Sack; Xavier Vasquez: 3 Assist, 4 Solo, 1 Big Hit.
“Any success we have isn’t just about the kids in that locker room, but the players who came before them and laid the foundation for us to have this opportunity,” Martinez said. “We will never take that for granted.”
Upcoming Game
Natalia will battle Poth for the district lead Friday at Jack Lane Stadium in Wilson County at 7:30 p.m. See the Poth Preview story for further details.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer