MULESHOE, Texas — The Muleshoe Mules christened their newly refurbished stadium here Friday with a 49-8 romp over cross-border rival Portales.
The Mules (2-0) high-powered aerial offense went to work early behind the arm of senior quarterback Cooper Washington. He hooked up with junior Isaac Baca on a 52-yard touchdown pass 33 seconds into the game. The Mules followed that with three more touchdown passes in the first quarter.
The Mules got a 24-yard TD run from senior Juan Sanchez with 11:30 left in the half then another hookup from Washington to Eric Orozco for a 55-yard score with 23 seconds left in the half to make it 42-0.
After completing 13 of 17 passes for 245 yards and four TDs, Washington turned the reins of the offense over to the junior Beau Avila after a few snaps in the second half. Combined the Mules would rack up 524 yards, including 410 through the air.
Muleshoe got a little conservative in the second half and with lots of roster experimentation mistakes were made according to Mules coach David Wood. He said judging from the first half, though, his team didn’t miss a beat after last week’s win over Shallowater.
“We came out and executed our game plan,” Woods said. “I’m proud of them. We had to work on a lot of mistakes from last week but we corrected them. Now we’ll just look at this week’s film and correct the mistakes we made tonight.”
Muleshoe spent just over $800,000 on the stadium and track including artificial turf during the summer. Friday’s game was the first athletic event held there.
“We played a lot of kids tonight and it was a memorable way to open up our new stadium,” said Wood.
Portales (0-2) had few bright spots on both side of the ball but two of those came on defense in the third period. Portales senior Stephen
Shields, playing in his first season of football, picked off a Avila pass at midfield at the 8:33 mark.
The Rams failed to take advantage but got another turnover late in the period when sophomore Ethan Larson recovered a fumble just inside Mule territory.
That turnover set up a 10-play drive that ended in a touchdown pass from junior Phoenix Russell to junior Brandon Lovato. For Portales the loss was hollowed further by the injury of senior
Lucas Banda late in the game. Coaches said medical personnel were being extra careful because of a possible neck injury on a helmet-to- helmet hit with the Rams on defense. Portales Coach Mark McAfee was hurrying to the hospital after the game to be with the Banda family but said there were some bright spots for the Rams.
“Our passing game came along pretty good tonight,” McAfee said. “Of course we’ve still got a lot of bugs to work out. You play good competition in order to expose things so you can work on them and get better.”