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Levelland overcomes mistakes, staves off Denver City, 26-23

Posted: September 7, 2012 - 10:58pm  |  Updated: September 8, 2012 - 4:09am
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Levelland Lobos Wide Receiver Trenton Jones catches a touchdown during the first quarter of their game against the Denver City Mustangs in Levelland Texas on Friday, September 7, 2012. Photo By Tom Turner © Tom Turner   Tom Turner
Tom Turner
Levelland Lobos Wide Receiver Trenton Jones catches a touchdown during the first quarter of their game against the Denver City Mustangs in Levelland Texas on Friday, September 7, 2012. Photo By Tom Turner © Tom Turner
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LEVELLAND — Levelland punter Preston Woodard had his first two punts blocked, resulting in a quick 9-0 deficit to Denver City on Friday night.

So, naturally, he should have to atone for it by scoring two touchdowns.

He had three.

The Lobos scored 26-straight points after getting down early, then held on for a 26-23 win against visiting Denver City at Lobo Stadium.

“We got down and I saw a lot of our players’ heads go down,” Woodard said. “Being a senior, I told myself when I got into the huddle I need to pick them up. ... I said we can either pick it up or go out with a loss and be 1-1. And I wasn’t going to be 1-1.”

The Lobos (2-0) wouldn’t punt again until the third quarter, with Woodward scoring on a 1-yard run and a pair of long passes during the stretch.

Levelland seemed to have the game out of reach up 17 midway through the third, but Denver City clawed its way back.

Mustang running back Kaleb King, who led the team with 74 yards, busted a 41-yard run inside the Levelland 5 before punching it in on the ensuing play.

The two teams then battled for position as winds hampered long throws and punts, and the game went into the fourth with the Lobos still leading by 11 and looking to put it away.

However, Lobo quarterback Kain Alexander fumbled on back-to-back drives to give the Mustangs a fighting chance.

Back-up quarterback Clancy David took over in the third for injured starter Mason Milligan, then orchestrated a scoring drive from on a shortened field to put Denver City within 26-23.

However, the Lobo defense stiffened and continued to force incompletions in the swirling wind.

Denver City (1-1) got the ball at the Levelland 35 after a 9-yard punt by the Lobos with 2:15 left, but four straight incompletions ended the threat.

Denver City coach Gary Gutierrez said he had complete faith in his team after the first botched punts and also after the fumbles,

“It’s one of those things where you may have people in the stands going, ‘oh no, here we go again,’ ”
Gutierrez said of the late fumbles. “But our kids were fighting and believed the whole way, and there was never a doubt in our minds we were going to pull that out.”

Woodard led all receivers with 88 yards on two catches, both touchdowns from Kain Alexander.

Alexander finished the game 8-for-15 with 147 yards, and he also led all rushers with 92 yards on 18 carries.

Milligan finished 4-for-6 with 41 yards, and David had 113 yards passing in a quarter-and-a-half of relief.

The Lobos’ defensive front was stiff all night, only allowing 71 yards in the opening two quarters.

“We just came out with more energy (in the second half) than we did in the first half,” David said. “We just fought more, fought harder.”

Denver City coach Steve Taylor said the defense was extremely stout, giving a lot of credit to the Lobos’ scheme.

Levelland’s Trae Taylor lined up at nose guard much of the game, clogging up the defensive front and limiting the Mustangs to 141 rushing yards.

The Lobos also sacked Mustang quarterbacks five times, consistently forcing them out of the pocket on passing plays.

“I’m super proud of these guys for battling so much,” Denver City coach Steve Taylor said. “Levelland’s big and fast, and watching them warm up I didn’t know if we had a chance. Our kids came out and played hard, and had a lot of chances to win the game at the end. We just had too many penalties.”

The Mustangs had 11 penalties for 100 yards, including several drive killers late in the game.

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thomas.magelssen@lubbockonline.com • 766-8723

george.watson@lubbockonline.com • 766-2166

LEVELLAND 26, DENVER CITY 23

Denver City 9 0 7 7 — 23

Levelland 0 18 8 0 — 26

First Quarter

DEN — Team safety (punt blocked out of end zone); 10:24

DEN — Mason Milligan 1 run (Mario Esquivel kick); 4:18

Second Quarter

LEV — Trenton Jones 10 pass from Kain Alexander (run failed); 10:54

LEV — Preston Woodard 1 run (pass failed); 7:08

LEV — Woodard 43 pass from Alexander (pass failed); 1:57

Third Quarter

LEV — Woodard 45 pass from Alexander (Woodward run); 5:11

DEN — Kaleb King 2 run (Esquivel kick); 4:35

Fourth Quarter

DEN — Keyshawn Hawkins 7 pass from Clancy David (Esquivel kick); 4:11

TEAM STATISTICS

DEN LEV

First downs 12 13

Rushes-yards 29-141 40-254

Passing yards 152 147

Comp.-att.-int. 9-25-0 8-15-0

Punts-avg. 7-27 3-22.7

Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-2

Penalties-yards 11-100 6-43

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Denver City, Kaleb King 8-74, Mason Milligan 14-48, Clancy David 6-21 Tanner Sherman 1- (-2); Levelland, Kain Alexander 18-92, Preston Woodard 9-55, Deshawn Fitts 10-47, A.J. Hernandez 1-5, Trae Taylor 1-4, A.J. Hernandez 1-5, Matt Guajardo 1-1.

PASSING: Denver City, David 5-18-0-113, Milligan 4-6-0—41, Saul Gutierrez 0-1-0—0; Levelland, Alexander 8-15-0—147.

RECEIVING: Denver City, Brent Golden 2-50, King 1-39, Keyshawn Hawkins 3-34, David 1-24, Ivan De La Rosa 1-4, Khaleed Brown 1-3; Levelland, Woodard 2-88, Trenton Jones 3-24, Mitchell Monk 1-17, Taylor 2-10, Evan Shedd 1-10.

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