Mustangs drop third straight in district

Posted 10/15/19

The Madisonville football team fell to 0-3 to begin district play Friday with a 34-17 road loss to the undefeated Connally Cadets after falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter.

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Mustangs drop third straight in district

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The Madisonville football team fell to 0-3 to begin district play Friday with a 34-17 road loss to the undefeated Connally Cadets after falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter.

“Everybody (in the district) is good, and I am trying to tell the kids that we got better Friday,” said head coach Russell Urbantke. “We were right there with them. It was 13-0 with 42 seconds to go in the first half. We gave up a big play, and those hurt us all night. We cannot give up the big play defensively and, when we have those opportunities on offense, we have to make those play.”

The Mustangs used the majority of the second quarter to fight their way back from the early deficit. They began with a 69-yard touchdown drive to put their first points on the scoreboard when Tyrese Brown found the end zone from five yards out.

After a defensive takeaway, Armando Juarez and the Mustangs had a chance to take their first lead of the night. Their drive ultimately stalled in the red zone after a fumble set the unit back a number of yards. They would settle for a 44-yard Juan Polanco field goal to cut the deficit to three points.

“Other than a three-and-out and a fumble, I would say our offensive performance was around a ‘B’,” said Urbantke. “We made the correct reads at the quarterback position and up front while our backs ran the ball hard.”

The Madisonville offense gathered over 200 yards on the ground in Friday’s loss. Brown led the team with 100 yards on 25 carries (four yards per attempt) while Roderick Holiday and Juarez added 45 and 58 yards, respectively.

“We are running the ball effectively,” said Urbantke. “The area we are struggling in is protection and giving our quarterback enough time to sit in the pocket, make the read and make the throw. We did not match up very well at the wide receiver position compared to their defensive backs. Every one of their kids in the secondary is going to to college on scholarship to play football. I would say this is the strength of their defense, so we tried to attack their weakness.”

The Mustangs attempted just seven passes against Connally, five from Juarez and two more from Brown. Juarez connected with Brown for a gain of nine yards as well as Corey Johnson for a gain of one.

The game’s defining moments may have been the end of the first half and the start of the second, when Connally was able to outscore Madisonville 14-0 to build a three-possession lead.

“We talk to the kids about important drives,” said Urbantke. “Those are the opening drives of each half as well as the drive right before the half, whether you are on offense or defense. We came out of the break and went three-and-out, we cannot do that. The coaches know it, the kids know it, we just have to be better at it. That is such a killer, especially against a high-octane offense like theirs and the athletes they have over there.”

Madisonville’s second touchdown of the night came in the third quarter when Brown was able to pound it in from inside the five-yard line for the second time of the game.

“I felt like we all got better as a team today, it just was not the end result that we wanted,” said Brown after the loss. “We got better today. We cannot give up because anybody can win at any time in this district.”

Madisonville will return to MHS and look to rebound against the Robinson Rockets on Friday night. Robinson (0-2) is also seeking their first district victory after dropping a pair of games to Salado and Lorena to start their slate.

“We have to be able to protect,” said Urbantke. “We need to get receivers open, run the correct routes, make the right reads and work on our play action passing game. I am feeling pretty confident about our ground game and their ability to run it against their defense, but we have to be better at mixing in the pass.”

Madisonville and Robinson will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Mustang Stadium.

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