The Miles Bulldogs have taken a bite out of every opponent that they’ve faced this season. Prior to welcoming the Munday Moguls to their home field on Friday night the most points that their highly vaunted defense had given up this year was 28 points to Roscoe.
On Friday the Moguls seemed to falter in the first half and went into halftime down 33-14. They gave up 4 touchdowns to the Bulldogs in the second quarter alone. Although, Munday’s senior quarterback Cameron Thornton showed some flashes of brilliance and arm strength in the first half. He’s a big quarterback, probably one of the biggest in the district and he runs like a fullback and has an arm for a canon as evidenced by a completed pass that went almost 50 yards in the air. The receiver was dragged down at the 10-yard line by the safety. Miles ended up keeping Munday out of the end zone with some stingy defensive play led by Christian Gutierrez and Joel Garcia. Bulldogs Riley Chapman and Brandon Rodriguez anchor the defensive line. This year the Moguls have transitioned from their traditional flexbone offense to a spread offense. Thornton’s arm strength and accuracy firmly justify running a spread offense.
The Bulldogs gave up 2 touchdowns in the first half. The first of those was a run and the second was a fumble return for a touchdown. But Miles has a high-octane offense that doesn’t take any plays off. Highly regarded quarterback Davian Martinez runs a fast-paced offense with a solid backfield with junior running back Brayden Dunlap getting the lion’s share of carries. The receiving corps is also above-average with Seth Michalewicz, Reagan Briley and Landon Book.
The game was a mediocre 6-0 after the first quarter, but that’s been Miles’ modus operandi all year. Only against Ranger did Miles score more than 7-points in the first quarter and that was only 10-points. They didn’t score in the first quarter against TLCA or Era. They scored 7-points in the first quarter against Roscoe and now 6-points against Munday. Miles has always started slow as they get their feet under them and get up to game-speed and then explode in second quarter. This season they’ve scored 114-points in the second quarter, an average of 22.8 points. The game against Munday was no different as the Bulldogs put 27-points on the board with Dunlap’s running and Martinez’s passing, although Martinez did add a couple of his own rushing touchdowns.
One aspect of the game firmly in Miles’ favor was the fact that Munday only had 3 players on the bench. They have 5 injured players that didn’t suit up. The Moguls’ Thornton not only played quarterback but he also played linebacker, kick returner and field goal kicker. And at halftime he played in the marching band. It’s likely that Thornton was on the field for every play. In the second quarter he threw a bullseye on a 23-yard dart while he was running toward the sideline and the receiver was running toward the sideline at full speed. On another play the receiver was running a post route along the sideline and had left the defender 5-yards behind him. As the receiver looked up the ball hit him in the hands and bounced out of his hands, which almost certainly cost the Moguls 6-points. Penalties also cost the Moguls some opportunities when the received 2 false start penalties in a row, putting them in 3rd and long in their own territory.
Miles put another touchdown on the board when wide receiver Jose Mata hauled in a pass and strolled into the end zone.
At halftime Miles was up 33-14 and looked to be running away with the game. The second half opened up with Munday kicking off to Miles. Mata returned the kickoff for a touchdown as he zigged and zagged his way down field, leaving would-be tacklers grabbing nothing but air on his 67-yard jaunt. That made the score 40-14.
That’s when the tone of the game changed. That would be the only touchdown that Miles would score in the 3rd quarter. Munday seemed to be tired of getting knocked around and decided to up their air assault. A team that was visibly fatigued from the same players playing offense, defense and special teams without relief started wearing down Miles, which has a much deeper bench. Munday dug deep to find their resolve and determination as they scored 3 touchdowns against Miles in the 3rd quarter to bring the game to within one score at 40-34. But the Bulldogs didn’t roll over for the Moguls. They found their own resolve and determination as they put 2 touchdowns on the scoreboard in the 4th quarter compared to the 1 touchdown from Munday to bring the final score to 53-41.
It was a hard-fought ballgame that was truly a tale of the two halves. Miles is a team with destiny on their minds after winning their first bi-district title in 18 years last season. Head coach Charles Boles has a team that is acutely dangerous when they’re in the flow of the game. Martinez makes good decisions; Dunlap runs like a Mack truck and the trifecta of the receiving corps opens up options downfield for Martinez.
A tough, hard-fought game is what Miles might have needed as they welcome the 4-1 Cross Plains Buffaloes to Bulldog turf next week. They played against a hoss of a quarterback in Thornton who ran and threw the ball with equal aplomb. It forced their defense to play the run and pass at the same time. The wide-open offense of the Moguls gave the Miles defensive backs a good deal of experience in stopping the passing game. As the Buffaloes come into town they’re playing quality football and have held opponents to an average of 9-points per game. It is sure to be an epic battle of titans who are both steamrolling opponents. The Buffaloes only loss this year was to Christoval. This will be the last non-district game for the Bulldogs.
On October 11th the Bulldogs will open district play against Menard.
Loboes roll Ballinger
It’s hard to tell what the Achilles heel was for Ballinger as they hosted and lost to the Cisco Loboes on Friday. They had 7 penalties for 80-yards while Cisco only had 3 penalties for 25-yards. Ballinger ran 44 plays as compared to the Loboes 47. Ballinger had 10 first downs and the Loboes had 16 first downs. The time of possession was almost equal, with the Loboes holding the ball for 24:31 and the Bearcats holding it for 23:32.
There were no blowout quarters by either team. It was just steady play by the Loboes that led to the downfall of the Bearcats. They put up 13-points in the first quarter, 0 in the second, 13-points in the 3rd quarter and 6-points in the 4th quarter on their way to a 26-9 win over Ballinger. The only points for the Bearcats came on a touchdown with missed conversion in the first quarter and a lone field goal in the 3rd to bring their score to 9-points in the loss.
Ballinger had more total yards than the Loboes with 236-yards to the Loboes 199-yards. Ballinger’s senior quarterback, Edgar Nunez, was 5/15 for 61-yards and 1 interception. Cisco’s senior quarterback Gibson Hearne was 4/11 for 49-yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Ballinger outrushed the Loboes 175-yards to 150-yards. Hearne did rush for 105-yards and 3 touchdowns. But stats don’t win games and it came down to the defenses. Ballinger turned the ball over twice, once on an interception thrown by Nunez and once on a fumble. Cisco also blocked a punt and got the ball on the Bearcats’ 6-yard line. They scored shortly after that.
The Bearcats never seemed to get their feet under them as the Loboes defense kept the Bearcat offense’s timing off and disrupted several of their plays in the backfield.
There were positives for the Bearcats, the main one being that they played a perennial powerhouse and didn’t get blown out. Cisco has put up over 40 points twice the season. Their only loss was to Wall. Ballinger has worked their way up to being talked about with the big boys, and justifiably so. The team is strong and fast and has veteran leadership. Penalties have taken a bite out of them every game, but that’s something they’ve been working on all season.
This was an inauspicious start to the Bearcats’ district play but they still have to the ability to finish at the top of the district.
Ballinger will continue district play this week when they head up to Anson to take on the 2-2 Tigers. Anson has given up 122-points this season while only scoring 99. Giving up an average of 31-points per game while only scoring 25-points obviously isn’t a recipe to success and something that the Bearcats can exploit.
Ballinger has the tools that they need to go up to Anson and win against the Tigers on their home turf.
Christoval Cougars roar against Blizzards
The Christoval Cougars were a solid, steady team last season. But, Winters traveled to Christoval in 2018 and decisively beat them 40-14 without ever batting an eyelash. This season the beast that is the Cougars returned the favor on September 27th with a decisive win of their own. Christoval’s junior quarterback Brayden Wilcox was 13/19 for 198-yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Wilcox also ran the ball 14 times for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns, accounting for every Cougars touchdown during the game. He was a one-man army. Cougars sophomore running back Josh Fava ran 23 times for only 51-yards.
Winters has played hard football all season. They aren’t flashy and they make you try to beat them at what they do best; running the ball. That is what Christoval did in this game. The Winters quarterbacks, Alex Salas and Jon Kullen Busher were a combined 3/10 for 128-yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Salas also had a fumble. Turnovers have been a concern for the Blizzards this year and playing against a team as tough as Christoval losing the turnover battle can be the key to losing the game.
The Blizzards rushed 33 times for 155-yards for a 4.7-yard average. Typically the Blizzards will have over 300-yards in rushing but the Cougars defense stepped up when they had to.
The passing game for the Blizzards had flashes of brilliance. Reagan Rodriguez had 1 reception for 57-yards and a touchdown and Sema’jae Jackson had a 60-yard reception for a touchdown. The other sole touchdown for the Blizzards came on a Salas rush.
In the end it was a Christoval victory by the score of 34-24.
Winters has one more non-district game this Friday and that is against the 0-4 Iraan Braves. The Braves have given up a whopping average of 46-points this season. They are scoring an average of 6-points per game. The Braves’ season will not get any easier as they have to come into Winters next week and take on a 3-2 Blizzards team that will be looking to get their season back on track. This is the last game for Winters before they start district play against the 5-0 Hawley Bearcats.