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Mental errors, speed too much for Marble Falls football against Killeen Chaparral

CAPTION: Marble Falls senior Jaime Castillo dives into the end zone, which leads to a 14-14 tie with Killeen Chaparral with under 2 minutes left to play in the first half. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Marble Falls High School football team lost to Killeen Chaparral 34-21 Sept. 8.

The Mustangs (0-3, District 13-4A Division I) now prepare for a road trip to Kerrville Tivy (3-0, District 13-5A Division II) at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15.

“Coming out of halftime, it’s all there,” Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman said. “We have to learn to not get heads down. We have one miscue here that turns into a lot of miscues. It’s a physical thing in terms of digging deep. We’re trying to get better on the mental piece.”

The Mustangs trailed the Bobcats 20-14 at the half but won the coin toss and deferred.

Marble Falls needed six plays to march 62 yards to take the lead thanks to a nine-yard run to pay dirt by senior Jaime Castillo. Kicker Issac Larranaga connected on the extra point for the 21-20 lead.

Both defenses emerged as the better units for the next three possessions with the Mustangs forcing a turnover on downs and both offenses punting.

The Marble Falls offense returned to the field and assembled a drive that took 5:11 complete that started on its 27-yard line. Just as the Mustangs reached the Chaparral 21-yard line with a first down, they had a two-yard loss, then were called for holding on the next play and faced second-and-22 from the Bobcats’ 33-yard line. On second-and-22, sophomore Joaquin Aguilar ran for six yards. On the next play, the pass went incomplete. The Mustangs opted for a 44-yard field goal that went wide left.

Chaparral took over at its 27-yard line and needed eight plays to score. Junior fullback Keith Tyler ran to the end zone from 24 yards. Sophomore Kenneth Johnson added the two-point run to give the Bobcats the 28-21 lead with 7:33 left in the contest.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Bobcats recovered a pooch kick on the Marble Falls 31-yard line and scored three plays later when Johnson caught a 31-yard pass from junior quarterback Joel Secrist. The two-point run failed, but Chaparral led 34-21 with 6:02 left in the game.

Marble Falls started its next offensive drive on its 27-yard line. After Aguilar ran for 11 yards, the Mustangs were called for holding on first and 10. They overcame that penalty thanks to a screen to Castillo from junior quarterback Noah Luckie and Castillo’s four-yard run on fourth-and-1. Luckie hit senior Maverick Lawson for a 12-yard completion on the Chaparral 37-yard line. Marble Falls recovered its own fumble on the Chaparral 46-yard line and were called for holding on second-and-19. An interception ended the drive.

Larranaga recovered the Bobcats’ fumble on first down to give the Mustangs possession on the Chaparral 28-yard line with 3:37 remaining.

But Marble Falls turned the ball over on downs when it couldn’t convert third and 3 and fourth and 3.

The game ended on a Marble Falls interception.

Herman understood the thinking behind the the interceptions. The Mustangs are averaging eight passing plays a game, however, they’re not as effective when it’s obvious a passing play is needed to move the chains, he added.

“That’s a player trying to make a play,” he said. “When they were going up one score, then two scores, we were ready to respond.”

When asked about the pooch kick, Herman said the Mustangs practice what do. He noted the players were too far back and didn’t run toward the ball the way they’d been coached.

“We needed that possession,” he said.

The Bobcats (0-2) scored first on on their opening drive, covering 75 yards in two plays. Sophomore running back Davian Arthur scored on a 12-yard run after Johnson ran 68 yards. The extra point failed 6-0.

After both teams exchanged possessions, the Mustangs went 68 yards in 10 plays highlighted by a 20-yard touchdown run by sophomore Joaquin Aguilar. The extra point gave the Mustangs a 7-6 lead with 47 seconds left in the opening stanza.

The Bobcats regained the lead on their next drive, going 75 yards in eight plays when Tyler ran 28 yards to paydirt. The two-point pass was good for the 14-7 advantage with 8:38 left in the half.

Marble Falls responded with a 13-play drive that included a seven-yard pass to junior Mason Long. The drive went 69 yards in 7:17 highlighted by Castillo’s two-yard score. The extra point was good for the 14-14 tie with 1:55 left in the second period.

“We put that in this week for fun to get the kids excited,” Herman said of the passing play.

Chaparral scored in the final 1:51, going 71 yards in eight plays. A defensive pass interference and a fast mask gave the Bobcats first downs inside the Marble Falls 5. Arthur ran in from three yards out for the touchdown. On the extra point, the Mustangs were called for offsides, so the Bobcats went for the two-point run. Marble Falls held to trail 20-7 at the intermission.

Herman noted the Mustangs’ energy wasn’t there toward the end of the contest. In addition to Johnson’s 68-yard run, Arthur had a 63-yard scamper. Castillo tackled both, and Herman praised his efforts for not quitting.

“It looked like fatigue,” he said. “(My players are) playing their hearts out. We executed a lot of things better. It’s a strong athletic team, and they have the athletes to overcome. We don’t have anybody that fast. To beat a better, athletic team, we have to do what we do without mistakes. This team is capable.”

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