I am sad to report that the Mighty Mules faltered tonight, as the Littlefield Wildcats slipped past them 51-42 in an exciting, hard-fought game. You should have been there.
The stream of traffic was heavy as the Littlefield fans made their way to Benny Douglas stadium; they filled the visitors’ stands, the first time that has happened this year. Emotions ran high on their part, as they had lost a player to suicide a couple of weeks ago, and their quarterback fanned desire even more when he pointed out that they had not beaten this bunch of Muleshoe seniors since their 7th grade year. Muleshoe, of course, wanted to add another win to that list as they moved on to the playoffs. This promised from the start to be a tough game, no matter what color you wore.
And it was, from beginning to the very end, as you will see in a minute. We received first and marched down the field, making five quick first downs and quarterback Caleb Wood runs it in with 8:18 on the clock. Nacho Elizalde made the point after and the score was Mules 7, Wildcats 0. A kick-off and two first downs later, one of their big running back plows through to the end zone. Their point after is no good, so the score is 7-6 with 5:32 left in the first quarter. But the Mules come right back and two plays later Wood carries it in again, Elizalde kicks again; score now 14-6. After the kick-off, Littlefield makes four first downs before the end of the quarter.
Then the second quarter barely gets going good before Littlefield scores again and try a two-point conversion, which we stop, so the score is now 14-12. We turn around and answer that with a very quick, two-play drive and the score is now 21-12 with 9:56 on the clock. Things are looking good at this point, but this is about when the stumble begins. Our kick to Littlefield is short on purpose to inhibit a long return on their part, which is okay, but then they are about to slip past us when they fumble and Ryan Johnson recovers. All looks good until two first downs later Wood throws a long pass that is intercepted and Littlefield manages to run it in for another touchdown. Their point after, however, hits the goal post, which helps, and the score is 21-18 with 7:12 left in the second quarter. Then what has to be the turning point in the game occurs when we have yet another pass intercepted and they manage to turn it into a touchdown and extra point, making the score 21-25, the first time since we played Shallowater at the first of the year that Muleshoe has been behind. And from that point on, the Mules were never able to recover the lead. We get the ball, but two first downs later, we have yet another pass intercepted and another Littlefield touchdown is scored, minus the point after, making the score 21-31. We get the ball back with 51 seconds left, make a nice surprise trick pass play, but can’t move it into the end zone. The half ends with Littlefield ahead 21-31.
The third quarter Littlefield has the ball but gives it up to us pretty quickly. We make three quick first downs and things are looking good again, until we fumble on the eight yard line. They, however, turn around and fumble themselves and we recover and are able to score, closing their lead to 28-31. Five first downs later and lots of clock eaten up, they score again, miss the extra point, and the score is 28-38. And again, when we get the ball, two quick first downs later we score again and close the gap to 35-38 and the quarter ends.
LIttlefield has possession at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and in spite of some good defense, one tackle in particular by Xavier Reyes, they manage to take it in again, extra point good, and the score is 35-45. We respond with a quick touchdown run made by Austin Ross with the help of a good block by Colten Harris, and the score moves up again, 42-45 with 7:34 left in the game. We try an onside kick, which doesn’t work, and Littlefield uses up lots of clock, scoring with a minute 58 seconds left. We did block the point after, so the score stands at 42-51, and time is running out. We throw another interception, and at this point some people start to leave. But you should never leave until it is really over, because then Littlefield fumbles and we recover. Yes, I know, time is running out, but you just never know. Unfortunately, in desperation, Wood tries valiantly again, passes, only to see it intercepted again. One play later, the clock is allowed to run out, and the game is over, Mules 42, Littlefield 51.
But what a game! This one definitely wasn’t over till it was over, and both teams fought till the end, just the way it should be. The Mules have nothing to be ashamed of and will get another chance next week when they play Denver City in the first round of the playoffs. You will have to check other sources for time and place, as I am not privy to that information at this time.
Find out the details, because you still need to be there. Mule Mania is alive and well.