CAPTION: The Marble Falls defense, which includes junior Kole Becker (10) and senior Yoel Gutierrez (3), will face another challenge, district leader San Antonio Davenport in the season finale. The Wolves average 556 yards of total offense and around 50 points per game. Photo by Christopher A. Miles/Christopher A. Miles Photography
The Marble Falls High School football team welcomes San Antonio Davenport at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, in the final game of the 2023 season.
Davenport (6-3, 3-1) was the District 13-4A Division I leader until the Wolves fell to Burnet 41-34 Oct. 27. Now they are in a three-way tie for first with Lampasas and the trend for the Mustangs (1-8, 0-4) continues.
Each district opponent Marble Falls has faced this season is coming off a loss from the previous week.
“For these two seasons, it’s been unfortunate,” Mustangs head coach Brian Herman said, adding that his team had chances at wins. “I still feel that way.”
Davenport’s recent loss did little to dissuade Herman from his assessment. He noted the first thing that stood out are the number athletes wearing maroon.
“The number of linemen they have and the number they have on offensive line,” he said. “They do a great job of protecting and blocking. They’re not relying on guys to play both ways so much. Their team speed and depth is unbelievable. “
Senior quarterback Triston Hamlin has completed 161 of 260 passes for 2,589 yards with 27 touchdowns and six interceptions and has 41 carries for 145 yards and a score. Sophomore running back Barrett Fallon has 192 rushes for 1,186 yards and 19 touchdowns and 18 catches for 186 yards and three scores. Senior receiver Emmet Greiman has 45 catches for 837 yards and seven touchdowns and senior receiver Kyler Payne has 34 receptions for 730 yards and eight scores.
Davenport defensive coordinator Josh Smith served the same role at San Antonio Alamo Heights. His scheme enhances the Wolves’ natural height and quickness. The linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties all fly everywhere, Herman said.
The defense is led by senior linebacker Zahir Livingston, who has 103 tackles, four sacks and three fumble recoveries, junior linebacker Aryck Singletary, who has 55 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries, and senior defensive back C.J. Tanner, who has 53 tackles, a sack and 12 quarterback hurries.
“You’re playing against nine linebackers, sometimes 11 because the safeties are like linebackers, too,” Herman said. “They’re really, really solid athletes who run around.”
The Mustangs will counter with seniors Jeremiah Bales, Jaime Castillo, Gavin Hernandez and Dax Murphy.
Castillo is a 1,000-yard rusher, he milestone he hit in eight games. Herman said that’s even more remarkable when considering a few facts.
“He would have had 1,200-to-1,500 yards if he would have played all the games or if he’d had a complimentary back,” he said. “Defenses know to stop No. 7. The unfortunate part is we didn’t have more. This system is meant for multiple 1,000-yard athletes. It’s sad we’re only celebrating one. We should at least have two or three backs around 1,000 yards.”
As the Mustangs prepared for their final game of the season, their coach gave them some things to consider.
“Finish well,” he said. “I talked to them about how they finish is a testament to their character. They can be winners in life and never quit and never, ever give up. Who you are and what you do comes from deep down inside. You still believe in yourself and give your best effort. I’m going to miss these seniors. Nobody this time last year thought we’d be at this point. We had the right attitude. I hate for them they didn’t realize their full potential.”
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CAPTION: Marble Falls running back and linebacker Jaime Castillo is one of several seniors the program will honor before kickoff against San Antonio Davenport Friday. Photo by Christopher A. Miles/Christopher A. Miles Photography