Marble Falls catches on in victory
September 04, 2012, 10:00 am by Mark Goodson
By Mark Goodson
Highlander Sports Editor
Marble Falls’ season opener had a little bit of everything.
Bottom line is the Mustangs showed they can persevere and win.
Marble Falls rallied from a nine-point second quarter deficit to win its season opener over La Grange Friday night at Mustang Stadium.
Senior quarterback Mike Richardson threw for six touchdowns and completed passes to six different receivers in the 56-36 victory over the Leopards.
After a shaky start, Marble Falls took control with its offense and finished the game with a 447-300 edge in total offense.
Richardson completed 22 of 34 passes for 250 yards and had scoring passing to three different receivers.
"I give my line and our skill players the credit,’’ said Richardson, the senior quarterback making his first start as a Mustang.
Richardson hit Garrett Gray three times for scores of 29, 16 and eight yards and also had an excellent throw to Carson Bowen for a 15-yard touchdown that helped the Mustangs build a big second half lead.
The first half was full of big plays.
La Grange used some strong running from back Rodney Filmore to help silence the Marble Falls crowd early. Filmore carried 10 time on the opening possession and scored on a 4-yard run. Marble Falls defense showed little resistance as Filmore gashed the defense for 63 yards on the opening 68-yard drive.
"A lot of teams could have panicked,’’ Marble Falls coach Todd Dodge said. "I’m real proud of the way they came back.’’
With 7:24 left in the second quarter, Marble Falls was down 23-14 and reeling after giving up two scoring drives and an 89-yard kickoff return for scores.
The offense held its own while the defense and special teams caught up on the pace in the second half.
In a matter of six minutes after falling behind by two scores, the Mustangs put up two scores to take the lead for good.
First, Richardson drove the team 63 yards in nine plays before hitting Gray on a fade pattern in the right end of the end zone. It was the only third down play on the drive.
Then on the next possession, junior linebacker Brennan Parker recovered a fumble to set up a scoring drive of 38 yards in 10 plays. Richardson scored on a third and one play. He hit Aidin Parnell on a fourth-and-five play from the 33 to keep the drive alive. Parnell’s catch was for 17 yards.
The Mustangs were ahead 28-23 at halftime and then added two quick scores out of the gate in the third quarter.
On the opening snap of the second half, Richardson broke through the line and raced 59 yards to set up a 12-yard pass to Ishiah Carson on the next play.
On La Grange’s next possession, linebacker Efrain Perez picked off the La Grange quarterback. It took Marble Falls just four plays to cover 40 yards with a perfect strike to Bowen as the receiver turned at the last second to meet the ball.
The Mustangs led 42-23 with 7:45 left in the third quarter.
La Grange didn’t fold.
The Leopards answered with two touchdowns on drives of 61 and 78 yards. Filmore scored on a 14-yard run with 10:18 left in the game and the deficit was cut to six points with Marco Cerda’s kick.
Marble Falls’ Richardson engineered a nine-play, 64-yard drive to push the lead to 49-36 with 7:05 left. Richardson had a big third-down run for eight yards and a first down to the 24. The Mustangs also had another first down pickup on an interference call on a pass across the middle to Bowen. Carson snagged his second touchdown catch on a second-and-nine play from the 10.
La Grange drove into Marble Falls’ territory again, but a penalty put the Leopards into a fourth-and-17 from the 44. Bowen, playing in the secondary for the first time of the night, broke up the play.
Marble Falls iced the game on the next play when Keith Jerome caught a pass out of the backfield and raced down the sideline for the final touchdown of the night.
The six touchdown passes were the most in one game by Richardson. He had five in one game last year while starting for the Salado Eagles.
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