Click here for photos of Natalia’s win over Jourdanton!
After starting off the season 0-2 with losses to two talented San Antonio squads (Cole and Randolph), the Mustangs could have easily gotten frustrated and began to question the process.
Instead, the Mustangs trusted the process and showed tremendous improvement for the next two weeks leading to a huge rival win over Lytle and a big road victory last Friday night at Jourdanton.
What has led to the improvement?
One area that has contributed to improvement weekly has been winning the battle up front with the offensive and defensive lines. Linemen who have all contributed in one way or another to this success include: Jeremiah Gomez, Matt Billalobos, Daniel Ramirez, Matthew Manka, Uriel Arellano, Dustin Soto, Michael Martinez and Joe Rios.
In all four of the games, Natalia has been overall out-sized, yet these hardnosed, hard working young men have began to win the war up front. Cole and Randolph simply had too much speed and Natalia was still getting comfortable in their offensive-sets.
Against Lytle and Jourdanton, these linemen truly shined, allowing their QB Woodson time, creating gaps and creases for talented backs such as Jimmy Ray Gutierrez, Matt Contreras, Michael Martinez, Jared Stallworth and Jacob Jass. Out of the entire backfield, Gutierrez has really shined and is the front-runner when it comes to a go-to-man.
Woodson has showed tremendous improvement since week one as he has looked more comfortable in the pocket. He has arguably one of the better receiving corps Natalia has seen in sometime as Zapata, Curiel, Vasquez and Martinez have been clutch.
Defensively, Gomez, Billalobos, Manka, Ramirez and Arellano have been a nightmare for opposing backs who attempt to run up the middle and or QB’s who try to escape pressure.
Defensively Natalia has been gritty. If a back happens to get around the corner, they have been met with a force by players such as Woodson, Manny Padilla, Diego Zapata, Demetre Perez, Matt Contreras, Stallworth and Ryan Juarez to name a few.
Defensively, Natalia made a true nightmare of a Homecoming for Jourdanton stand-out QB Andrus who was limited to under 100 yards of passing. Woodson, Padilla, Zapata, Vasquez and Juarez truly played their receivers well and didn’t allow anything to come easy.
One of the most obvious things that has truly come around is the physicality of the Natalia defense. They are not afraid to hit you in the mouth and make you think twice about trying to make a play offensively.
Last week, turnovers proved to almost be costly, but looking at the bigger picture the yards offensively Natalia was able to account for versus a Jourdanton squad with a ton of depth (50+ kids on sideline) was impressive.
Credit to the Natalia Coaching staff, who have this team not only believing in themselves, but showing more and more confidence in what they are doing offensively.
As long as the boys in blue stay healthy, work together, keep up their grades and #TTP, look for great things out of this ball club come time for district play.
Although we must take things one game at a time, the boys in blue have a bright future ahead of them. It all begins by wrapping up round one of a three phase battle. That is, finish off non-district play with a win Friday night at Poteet.
Round two will begin the following week as district play on October 12th on the road versus the Stockdale Brahmas. That will be a five week phase two battle as the Mustangs look to advance to the TXHSFB Playoffs for a second straight season.
As for now, the boys in blue are focused only on finishing what is ahead of them and that begins Friday night with Homecoming 2018. The boys in blue made everyone proud in J-Town, but the best news is the fact the best is yet to come!
Come out, wear blue, be loud and cheer on the Mustangs Friday night at 7:30 p.m.!
By Eric Smith