The Mules traveled to Bushland tonight for their second district win. It was a long game, a cold game, a somewhat uneven game, but the Mules persevered and won 40 to 17.
If you recall last week’s game against Friona, you might remember that the scoreboard was dead the whole game. Well, tonight we had a scoreboard but endured a sound system that for all practical purposes, might as well have not been working because nothing was understandable. And I do mean nothing. Perhaps the home side could make it out from their vantage point; we certainly couldn’t. And then it also felt like they had called in the NFL’s replacement refs, so many flags were thrown for so many questionable, we thought, infractions. But you have to rise above the roadblocks, and the Mules did, so there you have it.
We kicked off, and right off the bat Bushland fumbled, and we are in possession quickly. Just as quickly we fumble and give up the ball ourselves. They have some success until Saul Sanchez brings down the quarterback, turning the ball over to us, and Junior Baca runs it right in for the touchdown with 5:31 on the clock, and the score is 7-0. After we kick off, there is a flag against us, and they manage to make it first and goal when Chris Lozano sacks the quarterback. But they manage to get a field goal out of the deal and the score is 7-3 with 1:49 left in the first quarter. Then when we get the ball, quarterback Caleb Wood makes a long run called back for holding and promptly throws an interception, which gives Bushland possession at the start of the second quarter.
The second quarter starts with one of those questionable interference calls against us. But revenge is sweet when Ryan Johnson manages to come up with a bumbled ball and runs probably 60 yards for the TD. This had to be the play of the game, heck, the play of the week, as Ryan is the Mules center and a nose guard, neither of which is a position known for the ability to sprint past the goal line! So the score now stands at 14-3. After we kick off, the defense holds them and they have to punt. A few plays later, Austin Ross scores, making the score 21-3 with 6:02 on the clock. We sack their quarterback after the kick off, and we march down the field, only to use the remaining two time-outs to try to score before the half, but throw an interception instead. They have 17 seconds to score and don’t, so at the half the score still stands at 21-3 in favor of the Mules.
The third quarter starts with us receiving the ball, can’t make the first down and Ignacio Elizalde makes a nice punt that lands on the ten yard line. Our defense holds, so Bushland can’t move, either. Then Ray Martinez catches an intercepted pass, goes on to miss a Wood pass that would have been a touchdown, misses another one, and on 4th down Matt Barron catches a long one for first and goal, only to be stopped again by a holding call, lose 15 yards, get called for holding again, and then Austin Ross catches what had to be considered a Hail Mary pass because we desperately needed it, and the touchdown is made. The two-point conversion is not, however, so the score is 27-3 with 4:49 left in the quarter. We kick off, and they change their game plan, going into a series of very quick, no huddle plays to throw us off, and it works because a few plays later they get a nice pass to an empty receiver. But even at that, the Mules manage to get the ball back, get Baca open, and he runs in for the TD, which has yet another flag on the play. The touchdown stands, the PAT is good, and the score is now 34-3.
They start the fourth quarter with the ball, and after one good pass, their QB intentionally grounds the ball and is not flagged for it. Then we get a late hit call, also suspicious, the defense stands their ground for two plays, and then Bushland goes in for the score. The kick is good and the score is 34-10. On the kick-off Baca stops the ball on about the three yard line, which is scary, but the Mules get the ball away from the end zone and make steady yards down the field in an attempt to eat up the clock, which they do, until Wood completes a long pass to Ross, and the Falcons finally have a penalty called on them. We get down to the one yard line, but Bushland manages to hold us till fourth down, and Wood passes to Barron for the touchdown. The PAT fails, and the score is 40-10 with 3:07 left in the game. After we kick off to them, they make a determined set of three first downs, get a holding call followed by a pass for the first down, which leads to a good pass to the end zone for one last touchdown and extra point. The score is 40-17 with 26 seconds left. Muleshoe runs out the clock, and the game is over.
Next week Dimmitt comes to Muleshoe. The pre-game meal is Mexican pile-on. Come eat and then watch the Mules win.
Mule Mania is alive and well. Go Mules!