Marble Falls anticipates opportunity
October 04, 2012, 3:30 pm by Mark Goodson
By Mark Goodson
Highlander Sports Editor
Marble Falls coach Todd Dodge looks at this week as "an opportunity.’’
The Mustangs open District 25-4A play exuding confidence and primed for a big game against the Cedar Park Timberwolves. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mustang Stadium.
Dodge has been in a lot of big games in his career as a coach and a player, but it’s been a while for the Mustangs to take the field in a game that carries such weight.
Marble Falls, which has been playing football since 1898, has had 22 playoff teams in history, but only one since 1999.
For the Mustangs, it’s a chance to solidify themselves as players in what is expected to be one of the toughest Class 4A districts in the state.
On the other sideline, Cedar Park will come in with an established program that has made deep playoff runs a habit in its dozen years as a school.
Marble Falls is 3-1 and has gathered national attention after winning a shootout 62-55 over Boerne Champion in its last outing Sept. 27 when quarterback Mike Richardson threw for a state-record 724 yards and eight touchdowns.
Cedar Park is 3-2 overall and won a huge game last week in its district opener by beating rival Leander 14-10, the fifth straight time Cedar Park has beaten its top rival. Both entered the season in the state’s top 10; Leander was No. 2 before falling to the Wolves.
The Timberwolves are loaded with talent. The offensive line is massive led by 6-8, 280-pound Riley Mayfield.
Cedar Park plays two quarterbacks with Ethan Fry, the better runner; and Nate Grimm, the traditional passer at 6-foot-4, 180-pounds.
The option run game relies on good decisions for the Timberwolves quarterbacks. Grimm had a huge game against Leander with 75 yards rushing and 174 yards passing.
Big numbers against one of the state’s best defenses.
Dodge said the biggest point for the Mustangs is coming into the game with respect for the opponent, but not fearing the tradition. Dodge has said many times that painting a mental picture for the team is the key then go out and execute.
Marble Falls has had an extra week to prepare and they are biting at the bit to get a chance against a team that has beaten the Mustangs soundly the last two meetings.
As district rivals in 2010 and 2011, Cedar Park posted 42-7 and 52-0 wins against the Mustangs.
"I remember that game being a very physical game,’’ said Marble Falls linebacker Stacy Heinatz.
Heinatz and inside linebacker teammate Brennan Parker expect busy nights on defense.
"We have to line up right and make plays,’’ Heinatz said. "We need to force turnovers and wrap up when we tackle.’’
Marble Falls defense has been challenged all season. Heinatz said "It’s been tough. You know teams are going to score some points. W just have to stop them when we can.’’
This week, the Mustangs will stress rotating a lot of players to stay fresh on the defensive side of the ball. Up front, the Mustangs will use a rotation of six players led by Jonathan Sharp, Michael Buya and Tyler Fry.
The Mustangs top secondary players are Brian Shrubar and Cody Schulz.
Cedar Park’s defense has allowed just 57 points led by the trio of end Keith Tambe, linebacker Thomas "Jackson’’ Paine and cornerback Grayson Cotham.Tambe is the standout that has moved from linebacker to the end spot. The 6-1, 220-pounder is very active, said Cedar Park coach Joe Willis, who is in his first year as the head coach after serving as the
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