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Mustangs fall to Bobcats
VICTORIA -- After finishing fourth in District 15-2A DII, the Nixon-Smiley Mustang football team grabbed a spot in postseason play. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, that meant they had to face the Refugio Bobcats in the first round of competition. While the Mustangs found ways to score in each quarter, the Bobcats proved too strong, and bumped Nixon-Smiley from the playoffs by the final score of 82-26.
While Refugio scored a total of 26 first-quarter points, the Mustangs capitalized on a Bobcat letdown when sophomore Kevin Martinez fielded a Refugio kickoff at the 13-yard line and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown. Eduardo Tovar booted the extra point to make it a 26-7 game at the end of the first quarter.
Refugio continued to roll in the second quarter, scoring 35 more points. It looked like the Bobcats would take a 61-7 lead into the locker room, but Nixon-Smiley senior Garrett Earlywine wasn’t giving up so easily. Earlywine took the ball from the Mustang 33-yard line and rumbled 67 yards for a touchdown. Tovar added the extra point to make it a 61-14 game at the break.
The Bobcats added 21 more points in the third quarter en route to their 82-point total. Nixon-Smiley scored at the 6:35 mark of the third quarter on a 53-yard passing play from junior quarterback Nick Pena to Earlywine. The Mustangs added their final score midway through the fourth quarter as junior Jared Van Auken capped off a Nixon-Smiley drive with a 1-yard touchdown run from scrimmage. Neither extra-point attempt was successful, and the final score stood at 82-26.
While Nixon-Smiley was unable to stop the powerhouse Bobcat offense that ran 22 times for 246 yards and completed 22 passes for another 290 yards, the Mustang offense was able to move the ball at times.
Pena completed five passes for 114 yards and threw the touchdown pass to Earlywine. He was intercepted once, however. Earlywine had four catches in the game for 100 yards and the score. Sam Moore also caught a pass for the Mustangs that was good for 14 yards. On the ground, Van Auken had most of the carries, as he ran 21 times for 63 yards and a touchdown. Earlywine ran 12 times for 79 yards and a touchdown, and Martinez had 11 carries for 18 yards. Junior Tom Palacio ran twice for 12 yards, and Pena had one carry for 5 yards.
The Mustangs end their 2013 season with an overall record of 6-5. They made a 4-3 run through district. While Nixon-Smiley will lose some key players like Earlywine, Tovar, and linemen Oscar Torres, Darren Kaluza, and Jacob Perez, most of the team will be back next season. The Mustangs will have a ton of varsity game experience to lean on, and a hunger to go even farther than they did this season.
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