Shorthorns get first six-man football victory
By ROBERT HALPERN
MARFA – The first six-man football team in Marfa Shorthorn history earned its first victory on Friday, defeating the Sanderson Eagles 55-42 before enthusiastic fans who packed Martin Field to see the beginning of a new tradition.
It might have looked a bit grim in the first quarter as Sanderson jumped out to a 14-0 lead, coupled with the knowledge that the Grandfalls-Royalty Cowboys shut Marfa out 47-0 in the season-opener the week before. But the Purple & White only needed that one contest to get its six-man game face on, and by the half it was tied 20-20.
Marfa took a 35-28 lead by the end of the third quarter and outscored Sanderson 20 points to 14 points in the fourth quarter for the oh-so-sweet first six-man victory.
Shorthorn Robert Morales rushed for 259 yards and seven touchdowns and numerous point-after runs in pacing the team’s win to go 1-1 on the young season while Sanderson fell to 0-2.
Other Marfa score-makers were Thomas Daugherty on a 32-yard pass from Tim Flores, and a Roger Alvarez two-yard TD run with a PAT pass from Morales to Nathan Atzenhoffer.
Individually, Morales had 20 carries for 259 yards, Rene Granado had three carries for 13 yards, Alvarez had the one carry for two yards and the TD, Alberto Ramos, two carries for five yards, and Anthony Nuñez one carry for five yards.
In the passing category, Morales connected on three of four passes for 59 yards, while Flores was 5 of 8 for 87 yards.
Daugherty caught four passes for 42 yards, Granado had two passes for 39 yards, Atzenhoffer caught two passes for 35 yards, Morales hauled in one pass for 22 yards, and Alvarez was one pass for 10 yards.
The win appeared to have been a relief not only for the team but for athletic director and head football coach Jeff Jones.
“I feel really good about getting our first win as a six-man squad,” he said Wednesday. “I knew we would have a better showing than our first game, because now it is less of a mystery. The Grandfalls loss really showed us the speed of the game, and I think we played and reacted a lot quicker against Sanderson.
“We still fell behind early because of turnovers and penalties, but I told the kids, that type of play gets you beat regardless of how many men are on the field. We settled down and played pretty good football after that. We are starting to find our identity as a team, and getting adjusted to this game. We are getting in better shape, and none of our players have even cramped up. Last season, we had a lot of cramps the first two games, so I think our kids are really taking care of themselves.”
The only player out because of injury right now is Jonathan Llanez, with a knee sprain. “Other than that, we are healthy,” the coach said.
On Friday, Marfa faces the Balmorhea Bears in Balmorhea. Game time is 7:30pm.
“Balmorhea is a much better team than Sanderson,” Jones said. “We are really going to have to play a good game to win. They are learning a new coach, but he is a good one.”
Balmorhea Coach Vance Jones has won three six-man state championships, with Marathon in 1976, and two at Garden City in 2009 and 2010.
“They will be fundamentally sound, and they will make very few mistakes,” Marfa’s Jones said of the Bears.
“As far as the season goes, we are taking things one game at a time,” he said. “We have got to improve drastically if we want to have a shot at competing well in our district. I think we can be major contenders for a district title, but we are going to have to keep improving every week.”
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