Seguin senior Brian Cash posted season-high totals with 12 receptions and 127 receiving yards last Friday against Medina Valley. Photo by Andie Rangel.
(Marble Falls) - Barring a series of unlikely events, Seguin has to win all three of its remaining District 26-5A football games and receive help from a few other teams to have a shot at qualifying for the UIL playoffs.
The Matadors (2-5) are currently in sixth place with a 1-3 district record after dropping last Friday's 31-30 nail-biter to Medina Valley. Dripping Springs (7-0, 4-0) is alone in first place, Kerrville-Tivy (5-2, 3-1), Medina Valley (5-2, 3-1), and Alamo Heights (5-2, 3-1) are clogged in a three-way tie for second, and Boerne-Champion (3-4, 2-2) is a game ahead of Seguin in fifth. The Mats have already lost to Dripping Springs, Medina Valley, and Alamo Heights, and would not own the tiebreaker over any of those teams should they finish with the same district record. Seguin faces Tivy and Champion in the final two games of the regular season.
All the Matadors can focus on tonight is pursuing a road victory over Marble Falls (2-5), who sits at 0-4 in district play and cohabitates the 26-5A cellar with Lockhart after a 38-0 loss to Kerrville-Tivy last Friday.
While the Mustangs have struggled to find offensive consistency in Michael Birdwell's first season as head coach, they do boast a capable quarterback in strong-armed junior Andrew Stripling. He enters tonight with 1,185 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, five interceptions, and a .567 completion rate to go with 150 rushing yards and two scores on the ground. Stripling's favorite receiver is Keegan Deering (29 rec., 416 yds., 6 TD), and Marble Fallas has split the rushing workload between backs Dillon Mayberry (312 yds., 2 TD) and Cooper Wilson (307 yds., 1 TD) in 2017.
Marble Falls is only averaging 17.4 points per game, but Stripling threw for 365 yards and two touchdowns against the Matadors a year ago (a 66-21 Seguin win), so the Seguin defense is aware that a focused performance will be necessary on their side of the ball tonight.
"They key is not let him get comfortable," Seguin head coach Travis Bush said. "He's good enough that if you let him get comfortable, and let him know where you're at, then he can pick you apart. They've got a good plan to try to attack some things up front. Obviously got to be sound against the run game first, but really focusing on contain. We let Medina Valley break contain a couple of times, and the quarterback get on the edge and create some plays, so we've really got to keep him contained, and not let him get loose on the outside."
Scoring points, gaining yards, and producing explosive plays have not been issues for Seguin this season. The Mats enter tonight averaging 37 points and 441 total yards per outing. Sophomore Jhaelen Mickles has taken over the starting quarterback role, and comes off an electrifying performance against Medina Valley in which he went 31-42 for 353 yards and two scores through the air while running for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Junior receiver Hayden Haas is on pace to become Seguin's first 1,000-yard receiver since Da'Shawn Singletary reached the milestone with 1,156 in 2008. Haas enters tonight with 853 yards and nine touchdowns on 41 catches for an average of 21.5 yards per reception. The Matadors' leading rusher is senior tailback Clarence Tibbs with 531 yards and five scores on 61 carries (8.7 avg.) Mickles, Haas, Tibbs, and teammates look to maintain their prolific pace against a Marble Falls defense giving up 34.7 points per game.
On the defensive side of the ball, Seguin linebacker Garrett Luensmann continues to put up herculean numbers at the linebacker position. Luensmann racked up 21 tackles last Friday against Medina Valley to bring his season total to a team-high 92.
Tonight's kickoff at Mustang Stadium in Marble Falls is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com, with pre-game coverage at 6:30.