Muleshoe and Friona have a history of interesting football connections. There has always been a rivalry between the two towns; that goes without saying. But I can remember the game played in Friona in the late 80s that was a mudbath in the rain. Players’ uniforms were mud brown on both sides.Our cheerleaders wore large black trash bags for protection against the rain. Then there was the mudbowl played in Muleshoe sometime in the late 90s. In that game brown was the color of choice and the thunder and lightening and rain were so bad that the game was halted, everyone went home, and Friona came back the next day to finish the game. I don’t remember who won either of those games, to tell you the truth, (but I think we won the mudbowl) and I didn’t take the time tonight to go back and find out. But I do remember that we won the game with Friona in 2000 with the score of 23-14, which a few Muleshoe Mules thought noteworthy enough to paint on the Friona water tower- see “Playoff Info and the Water Tower Story,” November 8, 2009. So interesting things seem to happen with relation to games against the Chieftains.
Well, tonight was no exception. We were subjected to an assault on our senses by the ridiculously bad and unbelievably loud music before the game started. No programs were to be had, as none were being sold. But the real icing on the cake was the scoreboard and clock, neither of which worked the whole game. So we had no idea what quarter it was, save the clue that the teams would swap sides. The announcer might announce it, or he might not. Everyone had to keep reminding each other out loud what the score was. And when the game was over, well, it was just over. It took us all by surprise. The play clock, at least, was running.
We received and scored first when Lupe Campos caught a pass in the end zone and Nacho Elizalde’s PAT is good; Mules 7, Chieftains 0. They can’t move the ball and punt; we pass, they intercept. They fumble that chance, we get the ball but can’t move it, either, so we punt. And again they can’t move and have to punt and this time on the second play of that series Junior Baca takes it in, and the score is 14-0. After Friona takes possession after the kick-off, Jaxiel Lopez brings down their quarterback with a great sack all by himself, after which they have to punt again. We overcome yardage lost to a holding penalty and quarterback Caleb Wood passes to Austin Ross who goes in for the touchdown, and the score goes up to 21-0. Friona can’t make a down and has to give up the ball again, and this time Matt Barron scores; 28-0. After the kick off this time Friona gets the ball down the field and in scoring position, but for three of the four downs we manage to hold them, only to let them slip it through on the fourth down, so now the score is 28-7. But on our next possession Xavier Reyes answers with a TD run that makes the score 35-7. After Friona has to give up the ball again, QB Wood throws a nice pass to Austin Ross to make up the yardage lost to a holding penalty and we go on to score on a Baca run, but not on a rare missed PAT by Elizalde and the score is now 41-7. And after three plays by Friona it is finally half time. We know this because the bands, both of which have been standing and waiting to go on, finally march out onto the field. Well, Muleshoe plays first, and then Friona.
The second half starts with a Friona fumble, which we recover but we can’t seem to move the ball and we fumble. They get the ball on the ten yard line, followed by a penalty, followed by a pass that we try to catch but cause to fall into the hands of one of their players and they get a touchdown out of it. We do manage to block the point after, and the score is now 41-13. We sort of fall all over ourselves receiving the kickoff, followed by a few more failed plays which culminate in a pass that Colten Harris knocks into the hands of Reyes, after which Wood runs it in for score, followed by another sort of mix-up with the ball which turns into a successful two-point conversion, making the score 49-13. After that the ball goes back and forth a few times. I lost track here because I was trying to be a good listener to the ten year-old sitting next to me. But I do know that after a long pass to Chris Cage, Elizalde kicks a field goal and the score is now 52-13. The ball changes hands a few more times, we try one more field goal to no avail, and then suddenly, the game is over. We know this because the teams meet each other in the middle of the field to shake hands.
So the Mules are now 1-0 in district play and meet Bushland there next Friday. Their stadium is a bit newer, I believe, so probably their scoreboard and clock will work. Let’s hope so…