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Marble Falls, Taylor football: Winner earns first district victories

CAPTION: In order to avoid giving teams the plan for how to beat the Marble Falls defense, the Mustangs must show their ability to contain the run. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

The Marble Falls High School football team will hit the road Friday, Oct. 21, in search of its first District 13-4A Division I victory.

But the Mustangs (2-5, 0-2) are facing an equally motivated Taylor Ducks squad (3-4, 0-2) that has the same objective.

The contest kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Taylor Stadium, 355 FM 973.

In many ways, this isn’t the same Ducks team of the past. The 2022 version opened the season with a 22-21 loss to Gatesville Aug. 26 then reeled off three consecutive victories against Rockdale 55-41, Waco Robinson 41-19 and Smithville 40-35 before losing to Jarrell 26-20 Sept. 23.

So a confident Taylor squad stepped onto the field at Comal Davenport Oct. 7 and gave the undefeated Wolves at the time all they wanted in the district opener. Davenport had a 9-7 lead after the first quarter that also was the half-time score and a 12-9 lead after the third quarter. The final stanza is when both teams finally scored multiple touchdowns, but the Wolves had just enough for the 32-29 win.

Taylor lost to Lampasas 42-13 last week.

Marble Falls is seeking to end a four-game losing streak with the most recent coming to the Burnet Bulldogs 28-14 Oct. 14.

In other ways, Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman said, this Ducks team is a lot like the others.

“They’re fast and athletic and have big-play ability,” he said. “They have speed all over the field.”

The Ducks are led by senior quarterback Ryan Valdez, who has completed 65 of 97 passes for 881 yards, 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions and has 47 rushes for 201 yards and 5 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Joshua Mikulencak has completed 25 of 42 passes for 427 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions and has 28 carries for 132 yards and 4 scores. Sophomore running back Andrias Fisher has 107 rushes for 644 yards and 7 touchdowns. Senior receiver Jarvis Anderson has 26 catches for 541 yards and 7 touchdowns and junior receiver Treos Richardson has 19 receptions for 273 yards and 2 scores.

“Their quarterbacks are capable runners,” Herman said. “They have speed and skill.”

Herman noted that when the Burnet offense lined up in a two-back set with senior quarterback Tanner O’Hair in the shotgun, it was a formation the Bulldogs hadn’t shown all season. That may serve as a blueprint for how to attack the Mustangs defensively the rest of the year, he added.

“I thought we handled it well early,” he said. “Defensively, we have to tackle better. We got gauged, and they had seven-yard runs. What I’m concerned about is people playing copycat. Are they going to try to replicate what other opponents have done? Are they going to take what they know is our system to run a power running game at us?”

The answer may be on the Marble Falls to stay on the field and run the clock with its slot-T offense.

“My hope is we can use misdirection to get them off schedule,” Herman said. “We are really good at running at people. I expect to be able to do that. Our sweeps and misdirection stuff have to be more buttoned up. Our blocking assignments have to be better.”

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