“You always try to attack their weak points against a team like this. Watch film and try to find a way to get ‘em. That’s our goal every week.”
That was Magdalena Head Coach Rodney Leal’s approach going into a tough road matchup against the Mountainair Mustangs on Sep. 27. The Stangs are ranked second overall in the New Mexico Class 8 Football Standings. A well fought game for the Steers, the team was unable to come out with a win, losing 62-20.
Things did not start off well for the Steers. On the opening drive receiver Garrison Monte dropped a quick slant pass that could have resulted in a first down. Quarterback Jaxson Mirbal was sand which sacked by three Stangs defenders, putting Magdalena in a third and long situation. Trying to make a play to keep the drive alive, Mirabal rolled out of the pocket and threw into double coverage for a pick six to Stangs sophomore Cade Brazil.
With the ball back, the Steers had a nice drive into Mountainair territory. Monte quickly made up for his drop on the previous drive when he caught a short out route and turned it into a 40 yard gain. It was a missed opportunity as the drive ended in a red zone interception when Mirabal had three defenders converging on him in the backfield and was forced to chuck the ball up blindly.
The Steers made it tough for Mountainair early on. Cade Brazil was able to score off a read option run to the left for the Mustangs two drives later but the Steers defense managed to stuff the ensuing two-point conversion to keep the score at 12-0 to end the first quarter.
“You see that!” Leal told his team as they came to the sidelines. “We can stop these guys if we want to. That was great toughness. Let’s keep it up.”
Magdalena continued to roll on all cylinders defensively during the first half. Senior defender Echo Ware got a hard stiff-arm to the face on a run play by the Stangs. Ware never gave up on the play and took the runner down yards shorts of the first down marker to give their offense the ball back. The Steers offense was unable to convert off their tough defensive play. There were several over throws and dropped balls. Blocking up front to give Mirabal time in both the rushing and passing game.
Mirabal time in both the rushing and passing game.was an issue. The halftime score stood 20-0 Mustangs. All hope was not lost for the Steers. A botched hand off by the Mustangs on the opening second half drive led to a fumble recovery for Magdalena. Under duress, Mirabal scrambled around and found Monte along the right sideline for a 65 yard touchdown making it 26-6.
The Steers continued to fight back. Sophomore Isaac Lopez made a pretty catch along the right sidelines, resulting in a touchdown by Andrew Lewis in between two defenders. After another defensive stop, Mirabal connected with his younger brother Joren for 14 yards, making the score 26-20. Magdalena was back in business. Unfortunately for the Steers, the buck stopped there.
Mustangs Head Coach Robert Zamora had his team steam roll over a tired Magdalena defense with their rushing attack, scoring 36 unanswered points. Magdalena hopes to bounce back Saturday when they travel to Albuquerque for a matchup against the Menaul Panthers. The Steers record stands at 3-2 and are currently fourth in the 8-Man District 2 division.