For you Two-Percenters who failed to fill your reserved seats tonight, it is your loss. Tonight was quintessential football, a fight to the finish, a great game. A heck of a game! Littlefield came to play; the Mules were out to defend their 43-8 shellacking of the Wildcats last year. It was a game of traded touchdowns and big plays, but we probably made the biggest play late in the game when it was 3rd and 7 and Beau Avila kept the ball to make the first down and watched the clock tick off the last few seconds.
We win the toss and elect to kick off. Littlefield can’t move the ball and punts, which sounds like a good start for us, until two plays later we fumble on the 17 yard-line and Littlefield makes a quick TD. The score is 0-7. A nice pass to Saul Elizalde gets everyone fired up, but by this time we have lost Tony Molina and Adelaido Godinez to injury. Isaac Baca scores to make it 7-7. Littlefield goes on to take it to the goal line, the Mules hold them three times, but the Wildcats manage to take it in, so now it is 7-14. We bauble the ball on the kick-off, something we have trouble with all night, and the quarter ends.
Isaac Baca scores early in the second quarter, 14-14, and then after Littlefield has to punt, Elizalde runs it back for another touchdown, making the score 21-14. The ball goes to Littlefield, we get it back, and Isaac Baca scores, 28-14. But the Wildcats answer with a long 73 yard run and another TD, 28-21. With less than a minute and a half left, we finally get down to the 5 with 14 seconds left , then 9 seconds, and Ryan Deleon catches a short pass for another TD, 35-21. I haven’t mentioned every play in this series, but it was a heck of a series of plays.
It was also at this point that a group of students led by Garrison Myers decided to take back the “Gimme a Hoorah” yell, so for the rest of the game, we had a competition going between the kids and Richard Hawkins and Cliff Black to get a hoorah out of the fans. That was fun.
Darryl McCamish and the friends he brought with him from Cannon AFB, resplendent in their Mules sweatshirts and caps, had a particularly good time at this game, too, reciting every yell the cheerleaders led and then doing some improvising of their own in their nice deep, loud bass voices. They should come to all the games!
The third quarter starts with us receiving, but doing it badly and have to punt right off. Littlefield makes a long play on their first possession-we are missing Tony Molina on defense about now-and get down on the 7 yard line. The Mules make a good goal-line stand, but not enough, and the Wildcats pass for the TD, 35-28. We go downfield the hard way after yet another bad kick-off catch, then make a very costly fumble close to the end zone, which Littlefield recovers in the end zone and get the ball on the 20. They take it down for first and goal as the quarter ends with the score still 35-28.
Littlefield then takes it in for the TD the first play of the fourth quarter. We are off-sides for the extra point, and Littlefield decides to go for two, which they do, and it is now 35-36. We have trouble on the first three plays after we get the ball back and then Avila throws what I consider to be a Hail Mary pass which is caught by Deleon and we score, try for two and fail. The score is 41-36. Littlefield answers by going right down the field and scoring their own TD, go for two and they fail, so now the score is 41-42. We drop the kick-off AGAIN but recover. After his pass is knocked down, Avila carries the ball on the next play, makes it to the 50, and after more running plays, finally a pass to Deleon makes the TD and we go for two and the score is 49-42 with 4:39 left on the clock. Now things are getting really tense. Who will have the ball last? Littlefield moves the ball closer to the goal line and as if a prayer was answered, Deleon intercepts a pass to prevent a Littlefield TD with 2:26 left in the game. We do a little stalling, call some running plays but don’t seem to move the ball. And here is when that big play is made: 55 seconds on the clock; it is 3rd and 7; Avila carries the ball, makes the first down, and we let the clock run down. Final score-Mules 49, Wildcats 42.
Wow! The crowd, which did fill in a bit by the end of the first quarter, is on their feet and few are leaving, giving the boys a well-deserved standing ovation. Littlefield played hard, but Muleshoe did, too. It just seemed like the Mules would get themselves into a situation and then pull themselves out, doing what the situation called for on short notice. What a deal!
Next week is River Road there. I hope they have something left to pull out for that game! Get a good night’s sleep, boys. The season’s not over till it’s over.