Total DOMINATION! Natalia wins 5th straight Legacy Bowl

Lytle Pirates #11 Rylan Wagner and #5 Logan Wilson wrap up Mustang #88 Xavier Vasquez.

For the third week in a row, the Natalia Mustangs were able to overcome a tad bit of early adversity before taking control. Last Friday night, a standing room only crowd at Walter Joyce Stadium got to see a 2019 edition of Natalia Football that showed 0 mercy against rival Lytle in their 59th meeting in program history.
When the final buzzer sounded, an almost fully packed visitor side of the stadium celebrated, as a mostly cleared out home-side looked up and saw a score of 63-10 in favor of the visiting Mustangs. Natalia shook off a slow start, en route to a dominating victory led by Junior QB Wyatt Woodson who passed for five touchdowns and rushed for an additional one thanks to a stellar performance again by his offensive line and receivers.
The defense wasn’t too shabby either, as they shut down Lytle’s passing game, holding them to less passing, overall yards and points than the 4A Honda Owls did just one week prior at Beautiful Barry Field.
“I was really pleased with how our kids are handling adversity,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “They have done so all season and Friday night was no different. We know we have a long way to go, but I am really proud of the maturity of our team up to this point.”
The only thing that went Lytle’s way happened on their first defensive stand versus the Mustangs. Natalia got the ball to begin the game at their own 30 yard line. After watching Woodson throw to Vasquez for no gain on play one, Jacob Jass rushed for -2 yards, but an illegal procedure resulted in a 2nd down and 15 for Natalia at their own 25. Woodson floated a ball out in the open intended for Vasquez, but Logan Wilson ran up, picked off the Woodson pass and ran it down to the Natalia 5 yard line giving the Black and Gold clad fans plenty to cheer about. The only issue happened when Lytle couldn’t get a play call in quick enough. A 5-yard penalty later and this truly was the start of the end for the Pirates. Lytle settled for a field goal after big stops by the Natalia defense. From here on out, it was all Natalia.
The Natalia Mustangs were able to score on their next eight drives in the first half to totally dominate their rivals on the 10th annual Legacy Bowl battle.
Natalia’s first touchdown of the game came courtesy of a 79 yard drive that went 14 plays and was capped off on a 4th down and 3. Woodson was able to roll out and find Evy Curiel in the end zone for a Natalia touchdown with 5:04 to go in the 1st quarter. The PAT by Diego Hernandez was good, as Natalia took a 7-3 lead.
Natalia rose to the occasion as they did throughout, putting constant pressure on QB Drew Williams whose #s were way down from his Hondo game performance. He was limited to 8-27-117-2INTs in the contest. Seven plays later on their second drive, the Pirates stalled out and Natalia took over at their own 38 yard line. Big Blue only needed eight plays this time, to march 62 yards downfield before scoring on a 3rd down and 4 pass from Woodson to Michael Martinez. The PAT was good again, as Natalia had extended their lead to 14-3 with 5 seconds to go in the opening quarter.
The Mustangs were only getting started, as they went plum wild on both sides of the football in the second quarter.
On the third drive of the game for Lytle, Williams led Lytle from their own 49 to their own 48 yard line before he was picked off by Diego Zapata on a 3rd and 7. Zapata made a huge grab over a Lytle receiver, and raced down to the Lytle 35 yard line where the Stangs only needed three plays for Woodson to strike again. This time, it was on a 3rd down and 16 where he found Xavier Vasquez open in the flat, he broke past two defenders and raced in for 36 yards and the Natalia touchdown. The PAT was good again, and it extended the score to 21-3.
Nothing went right for the remainder of the half for Lytle. They were forced to punt and didn’t get a good one off on their next possession. This gave Natalia the ball at the Lytle 41. Natalia needed a 33 yard pass play from Woodson to Zapata and a 8 yard touchdown run by Woodson to give the Stangs a 28-3 lead with 7:54 to go in the first half.
Lytle finally got on the board with a touchdown, thanks to a 60 yard drive late in the 2nd quarter. Mark Cantu scored for Lytle capping off a nine play drive cutting the lead to 28-10. This is as close as this got.
Natalia got the ball back with 3:48 to go at their own 38 yard line. Woodson and the Stangs marched down field again, using six plays to cap off a scoring drive on a Woodson strike to Zapata in the corner of the end zone on a 4th down and 11 which truly deflated the Lytle side of the stadium with 1:48 to go in the half. The PAT was good, as Natalia’s lead was 35-10.
Things only got worse, as Lytle’s Williams became under fire on his next drive. He chunked the ball as he was caked and Natalia’s Austin Guzman, a lineman intercepted the ball at the Lytle 18.
Woodson only needed one play, to strike again, this time finding Zapata again for an 18 yard strike with 1:23 to go. This allowed Natalia to extend their lead to 42-10.
Lytle got the ball back, but was unable to run out the clock with 1:23 to go which allowed the Mustangs yet one final first half opportunity. Natalia didn’t disappoint.
Natalia used a little trickery, as Woodson handed off to Navarro who then figured back to Woodson on the visitor sideline which put Natalia down to the Lytle 4. One play later and back-up QB Navarro bulled his way in front 4 yards out for the final Natalia TD of the first half. The Natalia faithful were loving it, as Natalia had stunned the Pirates with a 49-10 lead at the half.
In the second half, Natalia took their foot off the pedal just a bit, as they ran the ball more than threw it, still managing to score two final touchdowns. One touchdown came courtesy of a huge special teams play in which Isaac Martinez blocked a Lytle punt, giving Natalia the ball at the Lytle 11 with 6:40 to go in the 3rd. Two plays later and Enrique DeOsio scored for the Mustangs giving them a 56-10 lead.
The final touchdown came late in the game with Navarro bulling his way in from 3 yards out again allowing Natalia to win their 5th straight Legacy Bowl by a dominating score of 63-10. This marked the most points scored ever in the history of the two programs meeting and the second most points ever scored by a Natalia football team.
“Our offense did a great job all night of taking advantage of the opportunities that were given to us,” Martinez said.
The Lytle defense was a bit blitz happy many times throughout and Woodson and his talented receivers truly made them pay.
“Our offensive line did a great job of picking up the blitz all night and our skilled players executed all night.”
The Mustangs finished the game with 445 yards of offense on 69 plays which included 26 1st downs. Natalia’s offensive yards included 292 passing and 153 rushing on 44 rush attempts.
“Defensively, we did a good job all night coming up with the stops when needed,” Martinez said. “When you win 90% of 3rd downs, that is good defense.”
Lytle was just 1-12 on 3rd downs on the night, as Natalia was 9-15 and also 2-3 on 4th down.
Lytle finished the game with 229 yards of offense on 56 plays with 10 1st downs. This included 117 passing and 112 rushing yards on 29 rushing plays.
Coach Martinez was asked his thoughts on their 5th straight win versus Lytle: “I am proud of our kids and community,” Martinez said. “I have been on the other side of that game before and I know what it feels like. This is a community thing, not just about us, so we take a great deal of pride with our community in celebrating this win. This win was about the teams who played before us and the community and city we represent. That was our message all week and I am proud of how we represented.”
What has changed for Natalia Football?
A season ago, Natalia stood at 1-2 on the season and had been outscored 53-7. This season, Natalia is 3-0 and outscored the same three opponents 111-40. Martinez was asked what the biggest changes have been.
“Continuity and consistency has been the big difference,” Martinez said. “Schematically, we aren’t doing anything different, but we are so much further ahead this year than a year ago at this time. I credit that to our kids and coaches for trusting our process. It has allowed us to build the confidence in what we are doing and I think that goes for our offense and defense. We have grown as a team in all phases of the game and I credit that to our great staff for being prepared and having a plan. I also credit that to our kids for believing in what we are doing and buying in to the team first mentality.”
Final #s
Offensively, Woodson finished the night 15-23-260-5TDs-1INT as Navarro was 2-2-32. Vasquez had 5-116-1TD receiving as Zapata was 3-72-2TDs and Curiel 2-36 to lead the way. Navarro led rushing 10-52-2TDs as Jass had 12-33 and DeOsio going 7-31-1TD.
For Lytle, Cantu led receiving 2-52 as Thomas Dominguez was 4-41. Rushing, Vincent Casanova was 13-57 as Williams was 9-35 rushing.
Big Game looming
Natalia welcomes state ranked Jourdanton to town Friday. See the Jourdanton preview for details.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer