Mules face playoff rematch with Littlefield
Published: Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
Overshadowed in Muleshoe’s nearly point-per-minute production this season is the work of an ultra-quick defense. Despite regularly giving up 30 to 50 pounds per man up front, the Mules are allowing a little more than 200 yards and 11 points a game. Muleshoe senior Colton Heinrich said size is a state of mind. “It doesn’t matter if the guy in front of you is bigger, it’s a matter of who wants it more,” said Heinrich, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound outside linebacker and offensive guard. “We come into games well-prepared, knowing what plays teams will run out of what formations. Then it’s just a matter of executing.” Defensive execution will be critical tonight when the Mules (10-1) face former district rival Littlefield in a Class 2A Division I area playoff game at Plainview. The Wildcats (9-2) will look to outmuscle the Mules with their classic power running game, and thereby, keeping the ball out of the hands of record-setting Muleshoe quarterback Garrett Riley. “They run the ball and they run it well,”Muleshoe coach David Wood said. “For them, a three- or four-yard gain is a perfect. “We’ve got to get a couple of three-and-outs. Getting their offense off the field is critical.” Littlefield mauled Muleshoe 42-7 in the same round last year. Both teams are coming off easy first-round wins. Littlefield beat Denver City 35-6. Star running back O.J. Zapata left the game late in the first half with an ankle injury, but not before rushing for 200 yards and two touchdowns. His status is questionable for tonight’s game. Muleshoe routed Sanford-Fritch 56-14 with Riley throwing for five touchdowns, bringing his season total to 42. The Mules’ potent passing game could face an additional obstacle tonight — cold and possibly wet weather. “We’ll go in with the same game plan,” Wood said. “We feel good about our kids being able to perform in any weather.” Besides, Wood and Heinrich believe the Mules can get by with their underrated running game, if needed. “If we can’t pass the ball, we’ll just run it at them,” said Heinrich, who also doubles as an offensive guard. After all, he said, it’s a state of mind.
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