CAPTION: The Marble Falls linemen will be counted on to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball against the Brownwood Lions, a key to which team is victorious. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
The Marble Falls High School football team will be playing at Mustang Stadium for the first time this season and the opponent, to the delight of fans, is a traditional powerhouse.
The Brownwood Lions (0-1, District 2-4A Division I) meet the Mustangs (1-0, District 13-4A Division I) at 7:30 p.m. on the Marble Falls High School campus 2101 Mustang Drive.
Brownwood has a strong junior class that had a 10-0 record last year as sophomores. Its roster features 22 seniors and 18 juniors.
The Lions ares led by junior dual-threat quarterback Ike Hall, who operates the spread offense with zone read concepts, Mustangs head coach Brian Herman said. Hall has the patience to read the defensive end and will take what the defense gives him, he said.
So if the secondary drops back into coverage, the Lions will run the football with Hall or senior running back Konlyn Anderson handling those duties. If the defense crowds the box, Jones will look to complete a pass.
“He can wait for you to get back and take off on the run,” Herman said. “The key is going to be getting to him before he can make a decision. He’s an athlete who can run well and make plays.”
The Mustangs will counter with a different looking defense than what they showed last week against Pflugerville Connally.
“Our defense is different every week,” Herman said. “We have different bodies in different places. It would be a challenge to face our defense. We have to get to the quarterback, and we have to hit him. Can they hit a big play consistently?”
Defensively, Brownwood runs a 3-3 stack, which means it has three down linemen and three linebackers led by senior linebacker Dryden Anderson.
“Their scheme is to get him over to make a lot of plays,” Herman said. “He can come off tackle. He’s good at seeing the football and getting to the football. There’s a number of bodies who will slow him down. He can come down hill and find the ball. Our job is to send more bodies at him.”
The Lions feature a roster that has 13 players who are 6 feet 2 inches or taller.
“Their defensive backs aren’t big downhill tacklers,” Herman said. “If we can get the backs on those guys, we have a chance. They haven’t seen a Slot-T offense in awhile. Our aggressiveness coming at them I hope will wear them down. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a close game going into the fourth quarter.”
The Lions lost a close game to Abilene Wylie 30-24 after coming back from a 16-3 deficit after the first quarter. The Bulldogs were able to build the lead because of their rushing attack, Herman said. But once they had a commanding lead, they began to throw the ball, he added, which gave the Lions an opportunity to make a comeback.
“People are shifted around and doing more things,” Herman said. “You should see massive game improvement. It’s going to be difficult. Brownwood will show improvement from game one to game two.”
Fans can expect a full roster of Mustangs ready to play the Lions.
“Everybody got healthier,” Herman said. “We’re excited about that. We’ll have more available bodies. Most everybody will be suited up and available. We’re primed to be able to play a lot of kids. I think our kids are very well prepared and in shape and ready and deep. We started a lot of different kids last week. I think it’ll work to our advantage.”
Herman noted the days leading up to the home opener have “been a good week of preparation.”
“We’ve done other things on special teams,” he said. “We’re using special teams as an extra weapon.”
Herman said the 52-7 win against Pflugerville Connally Aug. 25 was “a good start. I thought it was very successful for us for what we were looking for. We got a lot of guys on the field.”
He noted the way Connally scored on its two-play drive on its opening possession didn’t surprise coaches. What surprised them was the Mustangs’ play.
“They were a little wide-eyed on the first couple of plays, and they forgot the training during the week,” he said. “Coaches went to them, ‘Remember that work we did all week?'”
After that, the Marble Falls defense stiffened, dominated the line of scrimmage, made the Cougars uncomfortable, and recovered five turnovers.
Coaches have been on the hunt for this year’s “dudes.” Herman noted there hasn’t been enough separation in positions where coaches can safely say one player has won his spot. Therefore, the competition is close daily and any small error is the difference between starting and being a reserve.
“They allow us to coach them, which makes us deeper,” Herman said. “You have to be here every day. It creates a real sense of competition for opportunities. It makes you better.”
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