The Marble Falls High School football team lost to Taylor 46-22 Oct. 20 in District 13-4A Division I play.
The Ducks (4-4, 1-2) earned the crucial win, their first in the district, while the Mustangs (1-7, 0-3) continue to look for answers.
“Blocking, tackling and speed,” Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman said. “We didn’t have enough of all three.”
Before the game, Herman told his players they needed to plan on scoring on every drive, but the defenses shined in the first quarter.
Taylor punted on its first possession and Marble Falls turned the ball over on downs on its first possession after a fake punt didn’t produce a first down.
Just when the Ducks looked like they were about to score first, a fumble happened and the Mustangs recovered it on their one-yard line.
Taylor was on the move again after forcing Marble Falls to punt. The Ducks started on their 45-yard line and reached the Mustangs’ six-yard line. But Marble Falls stiffened and forced a turnover on downs.
So with 14 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, senior fullback Jaime Castillo scored on a one-play drive that went 89 yards to the end zone as time expired. Isaac Larranaga added the extra point for the 7-0 lead.
Taylor responded on its ensuing drive by connecting on a 32-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 7-3 with 7 minutes and 59 seconds left in the half.
A turnover on downs gave the Ducks a first down on their 39-yard line. Eight plays later, they hit paydirt thanks to a four-yard run by Marcus Jackson and a 10-7 lead at the intermission.
“I thought we played a really good first half,” Herman said. “I felt really good about where we were headed.”
Because the Mustangs won the toss and deferred, they received the opening kickoff to start the second half. The result was a four-play drive that covered 68 yards in less than two minutes highlighted by a 43-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Joaquin Aguilar from quarterback Colton Minor to retake the lead at 14-10.
But Taylor simply picked up where it left off by scoring on five of its second-half possessions. The only possession the Ducks didn’t score on was when they had the ball on the final drive of the contest and took a knee. Their touchdowns passes were on 23 yards, 80 yards, 65 yards and 66 yards and a 25-yard run.
“They got a couple of scores on us, they’re explosive, they’re dynamic,” Herman said. “We had to control the sticks, the scoreboard, the field, and we didn’t do that.”
In all the Ducks had 530 yards of total offense, all unofficial. Quarterback Josh Mikulencak completed 12 of 16 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Jake Mikulencak caught six passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Marcus Jackson had 16 rushes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
“They are a very senior-laden team,” Herman said. “They have depth and talent. They’re fighting for a playoff spot. This is a familiar field for them. They played their playoff game here against Boerne and lost. They had a bad taste in their mouths.”
Castillo finished with 19 carries for 160 yards, 130 of them coming in the first half. In all Marble Falls had 291 yards of total offense, all unofficial. Minor completed 3 of 5 passes for 74 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Jett Martich had two catches for 31 yards.
“Teams start to separate from us,” Herman said. “I don’t know if it’s depth and fresh legs. They have two sophomores, and we have nine. We had the game plan at times work. That’s when you have some plays that pop. It’s about execution. They’re trying to make plays. We have to access our health and see what we’re able to do.”
Marble Falls now prepares to face the top two teams in district standings. They travel to play Lampasas (6-2, 2-1) Friday, Oct. 27, before ending the season at home against San Antonio Davenport (6-2, 3-0), Friday, Nov. 3. Both games start at 7:30 p.m. The Wolves beat the Badgers 56-21 Oct. 20 to move to first place in the district standings.
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