'Tenacious' Mustangs log five takeaways

Posted 9/24/19

The Madisonville defense recorded five more takeaways in Friday’s 41-23 win over Navasota to bring their overall total to 12 on the regular season through the first four games.

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'Tenacious' Mustangs log five takeaways


The Madisonville defense recorded five more takeaways in Friday’s 41-23 win over Navasota to bring their overall total to 12 on the regular season through the first four games.

“Our defense continues to play lights out,” said Madisonville head coach Russell Urbantke after the game. “(Navasota) is a great football team. Yeah, they are 0-4, but they have played four really good teams. (Defensive Coordinator Heath Brittain) makes those guys get three turnovers a day in practice and preaches takeaways constantly.”

The added emphasis in practice has paid off for the unit, especially in terms of fumbles. The Mustangs recovered three more loose balls on Friday for a total of 10 in non-district play, which were caused by Tyrese Brown, Da’Voszia Mock and Roderick Holiday. Jace Snook and Holiday came away with recoveries for Madisonville.

Brown and Holiday would also add a pair of critical interceptions off of Navasota quarterback Zack Dyer. Brown’s second quarter pick helped set up a 42-yard Juan Polanco field goal and a 10-0 lead while Holiday’s helped secure the game on a fourth down play down the stretch. Asa Surface also added a sack for the Mustangs.

“It all starts with our mentality,” said Tyrese Brown on the team’s defensive performance. “We have the mentality to get the ball back to our offense so they can go score. That is how you win games. Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.”

“They are just tenacious,” said Urbantke. “They get after it, we call them ballhawks. They are always going to try to rip that football out. You looked out on that field and you saw that huge offensive line for Navasota, but our guys stayed low, played with tremendous pad level and were quick off the ball. A lineman may get on them, but they do not stay blocked.”

Madisonville’s defense allowed two touchdowns to Navasota’s La’Darrin Thomas in the win, but no more. Navasota’s third and final score of the night came on a recovered fumble in the end zone after an errant snap on a punt attempt in the third quarter.

Snook led the Mustangs with seven tackles against Navasota while Surface and Andres Lopez recorded six. Nathan Chappell followed with five tackles and Mock logged four.

Through the first four weeks of the season, Snook is Madisonville’s leading tackler with 35. He is followed by Brown with 29, Mock with 26 and Lopez with 24. Snook has also logged four of the unit’s 10 recovered fumbles on the year. Mock is responsible for causing four of the loose balls and Snook and Brown have caused two.

Kicker Juan Polanco also bounced back on Homecoming after a tough performance in week three’s 12-6 loss to Caldwell. Polanco hit all three of his field goal attempts, including the try from 42 yards out to give the Mustangs a two-possession lead in the first half. He added four extra points to contribute 13 points with his leg.

“We have all the confidence in the world in (Polanco), I watch him in practice” said Urbantke. “I think this will be a huge confidence booster for sure, and he was great on kickoffs too. He just needs to keep progressing.”

The defense will look to build on their dominant non-district slate in their league opener against Mexia on Friday. They will face a similar athletic quarterback in Jaden Proctor of the Black Cats.

“(Proctor) is extremely talented, as is (Mexia running back Jarrell Wiley),” said Urbantke. “They run a lot of the zone read game, where they either give it to the running back or have the quarterback pull it. They are both really fast and hard to tackle. We are going to have to step up our outside contain this week for sure.”

The Mustangs got a taste of what they will see from Proctor in the form of Dyer in the Navasota win.