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Marble Falls football wants to build momentum in final pre-district contest

CAPTION: Marble Falls senior Kevin Aguliar (59) and sophomore Mark Villalobos and the Mustang defense are keeping their team within striking distance for wins. They’re traveling to face a Fredericksburg opponent similar to themselves. Photo by Juan Gonzales/Concept Visual Sports Photography

Two teams similar in experiences and success are meeting at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at Battlin’ Billie Stadium, 1107 S. Highway 16 in Fredericksburg.

Both the Marble Falls Mustangs (2-2, District 13-4A Division I) and the Billies (1-3, District 14-4A Division I) won multiple postseason games in 2021. The Mustangs reached the third round, while Fredericksburg lost in the fourth to former district foe Austin LBJ.

But 2022 has been challenging for both squads.

“I think we’re very similar in terms of looking for and identifying or trying to find out who we can count on,” Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman said. “They have one win so far, which happens to be against (Kerrville) Tivy.”

That was in week three 31-28. Fredericksburg also counted a 6-0 setback to Canyon Lake as a loss though the contest didn’t reach two quarters to count toward the record. The Billies lost to Wimberley 17-14 in contest that was moved to Sept. 17 because officials weren’t present for the Sept. 16 game.

Meanwhile the Mustangs are entering this contest after losing to Tivy 28-21 when the Antlers scored in the final three minutes for the victory.

Fredericksburg uses the spread offense and is led by senior quarterback Will Degenhardt who has completed 25 of 47 passes for 333 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions and 22 carries for 108 yards. Senior running back Jesse Leija has 56 rushes for 224 yards and 3 scores. Junior receiver Drake Threadgill has nine catches for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns and senior receiver Charlie Johnson has seven receptions for 155 yards and two scores.

“They’re a repeat of what we’ve been seeing,” Herman said. “They have a good running back. They’ll utilize the jet sweep and the passing screen game. They like to spread to run.”

Senior linebacker Gary Seidenberger leads the Billies with 14 solo tackles, 23 overall.

“He’s a regional qualifier in the hurdles,” Herman said. “There are a couple of guys upfront who have similar builds: 6 foot, 6-2, 6-5.”

No matter the year, Herman notes the Fredericksburg athletes are always big and strong and have high participation in track and field.

“They’re strong and fast,” he said.

This marks the final pre-district game for the Mustangs who will start district play at Canyon Lake Oct. 7, so coaches want to see the players take another step in preparing for the most important part of the season.

“We want to build momentum into district,” Herman said. “We’re excited about some of the things we’re putting out.”

Watching film from the Tivy contest revealed some plays the Mustangs did well and others they didn’t do so well. Herman noted junior halfback Jamie Castillo and senior tailback Caleb Vidal each ran for 120 yards and the Mustangs averaged 6.6 yards per rush. As a team, Marble Falls has rushed for more than 1,000 yards on the season.

Some players made public apologies for the loss to the Antlers. Herman said the film study revealed errors were made by multiple players and coaches pulled some aside to separately show where they can improve to better help the team.

“We showed them how close we are,” he said. “We really are close to being 3-1. I think we beat ourselves. What we need to do is find those positives and build on them and reduce the negatives. The week of preparation has been good mentally. We’re trying to build momentum into district. I think a win would be important.”

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