A blooper right away by the Bulldogs gave the opponents their first and only score of the game when a punt was blocked and bounced just perfectly for the Natalia Mustangs – landing on the Bulldog three yard line.
Quaterback R.J. Rodriguez scored on the next play and the kick was good. The rest of the first half of the game the Mustangs could only muster 12 yards on the ground and eight in the air.
With less than five minutes left in the first quarter, Logan Muniz intercepted a Mustang pass and returned it nine yards to put the ‘Dogs on their own 19 yard line.
Javy Salazar went middle for four, Ross offside for four more before Rico Rodriguez went outside for 10 yards and the first down. On the first and goal from the one, John Morgan Ross took the ball over for the score. Salazar’s PAT was blocked for the first time this year as the Mustangs held the lead 7-6.
Kameron Harless and Wesley Retzloff kept the Mustang line useless as the rest of the defensive squad backed them up. Travis Escamilla, Preston Pennington, Jeff Whitney and Ian Smith all had better that five assists this week as well as two or more solo tackles. A fourth down attempt of the Mustangs was thwarted and the Bulldogs took over on their own 28 as the first quarter ended.
The second quarter was an exchange of punts as the Mustangs couldn’t go anywhere and the Bulldogs never could penetrate inside the 20.
After a Three Rivers time out with 1:15 left in the half, the Bulldogs dozed down to the one yard line and Rico Rodriguez took it in for the score. The pass attempt for the two was incomplete and the ‘Dogs led 12-7. The Mustangs tried to battle back but had two incomplete passes and a sack on their quarterback. “Hammerhead” Harless chased R.J. Rodriguez back 15 yards before dropping him to end the half.
The offensive line worked hard all night long keeping the Mustang defense at bay. This year the line is led by two-way starter Senior Travis Escamilla, Junior Joseph Rodriguez, Senior Steven Curry, Senior John Louis Morin, two-way starter Senior Kameron Harless. Backing up this line is Bradley Bellows, Wesley Retzloff, and Jeremy Gomez.
The Mustangs made some headway in the 3rd but could never get inside the Bulldog 20. A big play game in the last two minutes of the quarter came when Preston “Peeps” Pennington intercepted a Mustang pass after Harless and Javy Salazar pressured him 12 yards back from the line of scrimmage. A big 25 yard gain by Rico Rodriguez ended the third quarter.
As the fourth quarter clocked started ticking so did the ‘Dogs. Now on the Natalia 30 yard line, the Bulldogs led by QB Garrett Luthringer, began the march to the end zone. Javy Salazar made hard fought yardage and Luthringer hooked up with Pennington for a seven yard gain to get the Bulldogs on the Mustang 15 yard line.
Luthringer nailed Jonathan Luna on the next play for the touchdown. Salazar made the PAT and the Bulldogs locked in the 19-7 lead. Two series later, Luna intercepted a Mustang pass to end any hope they had of scoring.
Friday night the Bulldogs travel to Jourdanton for their second district contest. Game time is 7:30. Be there and wear red for your favorite Hammerhead.