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The Marble Falls High School football team was one defensive stop away from forcing overtime in Friday’s Area playoff match in San Antonio, but with 12 seconds left on the clock, the Sharyland Pioneer offense punched the ball into the end zone for a 54-47 win.
Both teams’ offenses were borderline unstoppable all night as the Mustangs racked up 476 rushing yards, and the Diamondbacks had 454 yards of total offense. After last week’s ball control gameplan, the Mustangs opened it up in the second round.
“We felt like we could get to the edge more tonight, and we did,” Head Coach Brian Herman said. “We took some chances; some worked, some didn’t.”
The game was shaping up to be decided by which team had the ball last, and Pioneer scored on the game’s final drive to win.
“That’s a heck of a ball club,” Herman said about Pioneer. “They’re undefeated for a reason.”
The Mustangs trailed by double digits twice in the game but fought back with big plays on both sides of the ball.
Pioneer opened up a 14-0 lead after Marble Falls’ first drive stalled. Junior running back Roberto Adame put the Mustangs on the board with a one-yard touchdown run with 4:04 left in the first quarter.
Adame carried the ball 17 times for 184 yards and three
The Mustangs got their first defensive stop near the end of the second quarter when the pressure was applied to Pioneer quarterback Eddie Lee Marburger, and he fumbled into the arms of the waiting defense.
Mustangs junior quarterback Jake Becker ran the ball in to tie the game at 20 with 2:20 left in the first half. Becker finished with 118 yards rushing.
It took the Diamondbacks only two plays and 28 seconds of game time to respond. Marburger — a UTSA commit — tossed another deep touchdown pass to reclaim the lead.
Marble Falls got into field goal range and got three points on the board before entering half trailing 27-23.
In the second half, the Mustangs took their first lead of the game after a 63-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Hayden Hoover. Hoover ran for 133 yards.
Marburger answered with two more passing touchdowns, and Marble Falls found themselves down 41-30 with two minutes left in the third.
Adame scored eight points on the next drive with a twoyard touchdown run followed by a two-point conversion catch. The Marble Falls faithful knew the defense had to get one stop. But it was a special teams stop that changed the tide in the Mustangs favor.
The Diamondbacks again punched the ball in the endzone to go up 47-38. On the point after try, the Mustangs defensive line got through, tipped the kick and junior David Rodgers caught the ball and took it 109 yards for two points.
With the three-point special teams swing, the Mustangs drove the ball down the field, and Becker scored the tying touchdown with 1:48 left.
One minute was too much time to give the Diamondbacks and Marburger. The final seconds touchdown ended the Mustangs’ season.
Despite the loss, this year’s team has a lot to be proud of. They won seven games including their first playoff game since 2010.
“It’s hard to think about it that way right now,” Herman said. “I’m proud of them. We came up short, but that’s going to happen in life.
“When you come up short, you keep fighting and attacking and try to find a new way to win.”
The team will graduate only 13 seniors this year; many key players on both sides of the ball including Becker, Adame, center Hudson McBryde, safety Chris Whitecotton and offensive lineman Gerardo Hernandez could return next season to “find a new way to win.”