Mustangs cannot overcome mistakes at home

Posted 10/8/19

The Madisonville football team dropped their second straight district matchup of the season on Friday to Fairfield by a score of 31-15 despite a strong overall start at MHS. The loss groups the Mustangs with Lorena and Robinson as the district’s three winless teams entering week seven.

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Mustangs cannot overcome mistakes at home

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The Madisonville football team dropped their second straight district matchup of the season on Friday to Fairfield by a score of 31-15 despite a strong overall start at MHS. The loss groups the Mustangs with Lorena and Robinson as the district’s three winless teams entering week seven.

“We are not out of this thing,” said head coach Russell Urbantke. “We got four district ball games left and it is anybody’s as of right now. That shows, top to bottom, how good this district is. There is not one single team that is out of the race right now.”

The Mustangs were poised to jump out to a two-possession advantage on Friday after a perfectly placed punt by Juan Polanco and a safety caused by Roderick Holiday. The offense was driving down the field after the safety kickoff and found themselves at the Fairfield 10-yard line.

The trajectory of the game then changed with an errant snap over the head of Tyrese Brown, who was manning the quarterback position at the time. The Eagles were able to scoop up the loose ball to take the lead despite running just two offensive plays. The snaps would be an issue for the Mustangs throughout the contest.

“We worked the game plan to perfection in the first half aside from that errant snap,” said Urbantke. “If we do not have that, it is a 14-point swing. Without it, I think there is a good chance (Tyrese) scores on that play. We had it blocked pretty much to perfection. Instead of it being seven for us it turned into seven for them.”

The offense would struggle to find consistent momentum throughout the majority of the game. This was largely due to unforced errors up front and long yardage situations, which have both burned Madisonville in the past.

“When you play some good athletes up front, that posses a problem,” said Urbantke. “It is about moving our feet and, once they get away from us, letting go of them. We cannot continue to keep having some of those self-inflected wounds that just keep on showing up at critical times in the game. Up front, we got to pick the blitzes up. We cannot continue to hold in those critical situations.”

The offense did, however, rebound nicely from Fairfield’s defensive score and managed to keep their counterparts off of the field throughout the majority of the first 24 minutes. This had a lot to do with their first touchdown drive, which took up most of the second quarter. The eight-minute scoring drive ultimately culminated in an eight-yard touchdown run for Brown and gave Madisonville a one-point lead at the time.

All told, Brown compiled 98 yards on the ground to lead the team. He was next followed by Holiday with 66 yards and quarterback Armando Juarez with 60. Matthew Johnson contributed 33 yards and Corey Johnson added another 20.

Brown’s longest carry of the day went for 39 yards in the fourth quarter and set up the team’s second and final touchdown of the night, a 22-yard rush by Holiday.

The Mustangs could not find any consistency in the passing game throughout the night. Juarez completed just four of his 14 passes in the loss, resulting in 31 total yards. Fairfield came away with an interception while Madisonville was looking to trim the deficit late in the third quarter.

Corey Johnson and Colby Sheppard were on the receiving end of those four completions. Johnson hauled in three passes for 22 yards while Sheppard grabbed one for nine.

“They played man coverage in the secondary and were bringing the pressure up front,” said Urbantke. “They had seven in the box all night long and committed to that. That is how they play defense, they are really athletic in the secondary and put their best athlete on your best athlete.”

The Mustangs will now travel to Waco-Connally for a meeting with the undefeated Cadets. Urbantke emphasized the importance of getting off to a good start in the critical road matchup as well as controlling the flow of the game and limiting the mistakes that have plagued his group at key times throughout the year.

“When we look pretty good (offensively), it is because we are keeping the ball between the chains,” said Urbantke. “That is the difference. We do not want to get behind the sticks whether it is taking a sack or a penalty. Those things just throw off the offense and we cannot overcome them. When we get behind the chains is when we struggle the most.”

Despite a perfect record through six weeks, the Cadets have allowed room for their opponents to find success on the offensive side of the ball. They allowed 24 points on Friday during their comeback victory in Lorena and have allowed at least 20 points in all but one contest so far in 2019.

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