Mustangs drop district opener after slow start in Mexia

Posted 9/28/19

Madisonville spent much of their district opener fighting their way back from a 22-0 deficit in Mexia. In fact, they remained fighting until the very end of Friday’s 37-30 loss to the Black Cats.

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Mustangs drop district opener after slow start in Mexia

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Madisonville spent much of their district opener fighting their way back from a 22-0 deficit in Mexia. In fact, they remained fighting until the very end of Friday’s 37-30 loss to the Black Cats.

“I loved the way our kids battled back,” said head coach Russell Urbantke. “We have not had a game this year where we started that bad. I think it took us a quarter to adjust to their speed. We do not have anybody that fast on our ball club and it is hard to portray that in practice.”

“We were not playing Madisonville Mustang football,” said Tyrese Brown. “We underestimated our opponents, they were faster than what we thought, and we should have taken it more seriously in practice.”

Trailing by seven in the waning minutes, Armando Juarez attempted to pick up the game’s defining fourth-and-seven play with his legs once he was not satisfied with any downfield options. He was dragged down well short of the line to gain, but it was a holding call on first down that ultimately doomed the drive.

“Offensively, we need to get rid of the penalties,” said Urbantke. “Every time we talk after a tough game like this, we are talking about penalties. So we need to get better up front for sure.”

The Madisonville defense gave up just one touchdown after a forgettable start to the night. Asa Surface was able to come away with a fumble recovery with five minutes remaining while Jaden Proctor and Mexia tried to ice the game. The play gave the offense a chance to score their fifth touchdown and at least tie the game.

Brown set the tone for the do-or-die drive with back-to-back first down carries to put his team near midfield. Roderick Holiday, who would score three touchdowns for Madisonville in the loss, then put the Mustangs inside the Mexia 40 with a first down carry of his own.

They would, however, be pushed back to midfield with the holding penalty. Juarez and the offense fought throughout the night, but could not overcome some of the sizable down-and-distance situations.

“We are not very good at first-and-20,” said Urbantke. “I loved the way we fought to the bitter end, but we just had some key penalties in some key areas offensively.”

Much of the success can be credited to the special teams. Madisonville’s first touchdown was the result of an errant Mexia snap on a punt attempt to set up the Mustangs inside the red zone, trialing 22-0. Roderick Holiday ultimately pounded the ball in for his first of three scores on the night.

Holiday struck again after the Mustangs got the ball back in the second quarter. After Juarez put Madisonville in the red zone with a completion to Colby Sheppard and a quarterback keeper, the running back carried it 20 yards for his second score.

“At first we were going slow, I guess we didn't know how good those guys were,” said Holiday. “After the first quarter, we kind of got a boost and got our energy back. We started doing our thing, but I don't know what happened in the end.”

Juan Polanco was able to connect from 37 yards out in the final seconds of the first half to cut the deficit to five, but special teams would hurt the Mustangs in a big way at the start of the third quarter. After a three-and-out, Polanco’s punt attempt was blocked and recovered in the end zone by Mexia to put them up 12.

The Mustangs did, however, remain persistent and continued to fight. Corey Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff deep into Mexia territory, which ultimately resulted in a Juarez to Matthew Johnson touchdown connection on third and six.

Madisonville took their first and only lead of the night after Mexia fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which set up Holiday’s third and final score.

However, Mexia’s offense had one last drive in them and were able to take the lead with a Jarrell Wiley touchdown. The two-point conversion put them up seven. It was the only score surrendered by the Madisonville defense after the abysmal start to the first quarter.

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