WALL, TX — The Midland Christian Mustangs had no answer for the Wall defense Friday night. The Hawks fought back from a first half deficit to keep the perfect season going and are now 3-0.
Things started off shaky, though, and both teams traded punts until junior Wall lineman Josh Balcomb recovered a Mustang fumble and carried it 38 yards to the 1 yard line. Quarterback Mason Fuchs took it into the end zone one play later to go up 7-0.
Wall forced and recovered a fumble again on the next possession after a couple 10 yard runs by Midland. The Hawks could not do anything with the ball and punted after making one first down.
Wall started its next possession after another Midland punt on its own 44 yard line. Fuchs escaped the pocket on 2 and 16 for a 13 yard gain, and then Drew Morrison picked up 2 more to bring up 4th and 1. Fuchs converted on a keeper. The Mustang defense held their ground and forced a 4th and 3 a couple plays later. Junior cornerback Tre Hubert sniffed out an outside pitch and stopped the Wall runner dead in his tracks.
Midland took the big play and kept the momentum going. Starting on their own 38, the Mustangs mixed runs and passes, and moved the ball methodically down the field. Quarterback Ryver Rodriguez, connected on several passes, but the biggest play came on a called incompletion that sure looked like a strip sack. Rodriguez was chased around the pocket and taken down after losing the ball. A Wall defender picked it up and ran to the end zone, but the referees had called it dead.
The Mustangs took advantage of this second chance, and Rhett Clark danced his way past Wall defenders for the score. Midland caught Wall sleeping on the extra point attempt and took the lead 8-7 with 3:28 left in the half.
Wall then gave them the ball right back with a three and out. The Hawks needed a stop of their own, but Midland marched down the field and scored on another Clark run with 20 seconds to go.
The teams went into the locker room with a score of Midland 14, Wall 7.
While the Wall baseball team received its state championship rings, Houston Guy and his coaches had plenty of time to make adjustments.
Whatever they said worked, inspiring their defense to pitch a shutout in the second half.
The momentum clearly shifted from Midland to Wall when Midland tried an onside kick to start the 3rd quarter. It was all Wall from then on out.
Chase Rios got things started with a fifteen yard run, and then burst through the middle of the defense untouched for a 28 yard touchdown to tie things up.
The Hawk defense flew to the ball on every play and terrorized Rodriguez. Wall fans held their breath when he launched a deep pass downfield on 4th and 7, but Taven Espinosa came out of nowhere to bat the ball down at the goal line.
The next play, Rios took a handoff 59 yards before being brought down at the one. Fuchs would sneak it in again for his second score of the night.
The teams traded punts and fourth down stops for a while until Wall closed the door for good. Stuart Bumann recovered a Rodriguez fumble with 1:10 left. Three Fuchs’ runs and two Midland timeouts later, Wall punted the ball out of bounds at the five yard line with 6.8 seconds remaining.
Rodriguez sent one last pass down the right sideline, but Junior Bryson Ballard snagged the interception and fell to the ground as time expired.
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