Muleshoe junior Brady Black rushed for 111 yards in Friday’s 42-16 loss to Snyder in Lubbock. The loss in the Class 3A Division II area round left Muleshoe at 9-3 on the season. (CNJ correspondent: Norman Brantley)
By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
LUBBOCK — Such a promising start. Such a disappointing finish.
Muleshoe parlayed an early turnover into a 6-0 lead two minutes into the game. But it was all Snyder after that.
Dee Walker rushed 186 rushing yards and Muleshoe didn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter as the Eagles rolled to a 42-12 win in a Class 3A Division II area playoff game Friday at Lowrey Field.
On the second play from scrimmage, a botched exchange in the Snyder backfield set up Muleshoe at the Eagles’ 38-yard line.
It took only four plays for the Mules to find the end zone. Slicing easily through the Snyder defense, Brady Black broke off runs of 9 and 14 yards and quarterback Brant Hamilton finished off the short drive with a 12-yard keeper for a 6-0 Muleshoe lead.
Snyder (10-2) scored on the rest of its four possessions in the first half to build a 28-6 lead at intermission. The key ingredient was Walker, whose rushing set up three short touchdown runs for teammate Chad Brown.
“At first, we were confident in ourselves. After awhile, we made mistakes — and then we made more mistakes,” said Muleshoe senior running back-defensive end Danny Bonilla, who finished with 47 yards rushing. “Then it just went down the drain.”
Down 14-6, Muleshoe (9-3) gambled in the early moments of the second quarter on fake punt near midfield. But a Hamilton to Chris Kindle pass came up short.
A few moments later, the Eagles tried a fake punt of their own, and this one worked as Lico Castillo ran for a Snyder first down. Four plays later, Eagles’ quarterback Matt Reigh hit Castillo with a 35-yard pass down to the Muleshoe 3 to set Snyder’s third touchdown.
“These kids just enjoy football. They’d enjoy playing at a Wal-Mart parking lot — if it comes to that,” Snyder coach Chad Rogers said. “I don’t know if (falling behind early) fired them up; it just got them focused in on blocking and tackling. I was proud of what they did after that.”
Black, a junior, finished with 111 yards rushing for the Mules and Hamilton, a sophomore QB, added 44 yards running and 64 yards through the air.
But the openings that were so readily available in the Mules’ first drive began to close quickly as Snyder defensive players D’Angelo Davis, Salvador Perez and Garrett Pinson began to plug the holes.
“They’re very quick — we knew that coming in. We’re very similar teams, but they’re just a better football club,” Muleshoe coach David Wood said.
“I was very proud of them. We accomplished some things that people didn’t think we’d be able to accomplish,” Wood added. “They fought until the bitter end and that’s all you can ask out of your kids.”
Muleshoe’s final score of the contest came of a 9-yard run by Tyler Wood with 3:21 left in the game.