WOODROW — By the time the Denver City defense found out how to stop Muleshoe running back Jr. Baca, it was too late.
It may have been too late before then, too.
Baca rushed for 231 yards and four first-half touchdowns to lead a furious Muleshoe rushing attack to a 47-22 win against Denver City on Friday night in a Class 2A,
Division I bi-district playoff game.
“We kept giving it to him until they stopped him, and I think that was the key,” Muleshoe coach David Wood said. “Jr. ran both north and south — four touchdowns — he had a great night. I think that was the key is Jr. Baca.”
Baca blew through any kind of locks the Mustangs tried to put in his way as he led the Mules (9-2) to 434 rushing yards in the Mules’ highly efficient spread attack.
The win gives Muleshoe a match with Eastland, which had a first-round bye, at a time to-be-determined Friday in Snyder.
Baca scored on runs of 7, 17, 13 and 48.
The senior running back’s third touchdown of the night put Muleshoe up 26-0 before the end of the first quarter, but the Mustangs forced a pair of turnovers to try to stop the bleeding.
Muleshoe quarterback Caleb Wood, who amassed 40 touchdowns in his first 10 games, threw an interception to Keyshawn Hawkins to set up Denver City’s first score, a 37-yard scramble by Clancy David in the second quarter.
The Mules fumbled the ensuing kick, and David hit a leaping Hawkins from 28 yards out three plays later to cut the deficit to 12 with six minutes, 30 seconds to go before halftime.
But that would be as close as Denver City (6-5) would get, as the Mules were simply too powerful for the upstart Mustangs.
“We just realized that we don’t want to be done with the season,” said Baca, who busted a 48-yard touchdown run less than 40 seconds after the Mustangs made it a two-score game. “So we just thought that we needed to step up. We had a couple of turnovers and they scored off our turnovers, but I think overall, everybody fond it inside of them.”
Wood, who started the scoring with an 18-yard pass to Xavier Reyes, scored from 2 yards out to make the halftime score 40-14.
On the Mules’ first possession of the second half, Wood put all hopes of a incredible Mustang comeback to bed with a 15-yard touchdown pass on an option fake to Saul Sanchez.
Wood finished with 114 rushing yards and Ray Martinez added 83.
“Our kids were there a lot of times, we just couldn’t tackle them,” Denver City coach Steve Taylor said. “Their running back and quarterback were just so quick. ...They just got a great football team.”
Denver City’s David finished 16-of-35 passing for 178 yards as the Mustangs were forced to abandon the run game early. David had a touchdown potential second touchdown pass to Hawkins erased on a penalty, and Denver City dropped a handful of passes that could have kept it in the game early.
David led the Mustangs with 73 yards on the ground, mostly through scrambles.
Caleb Wood finished with only 119 yards passing after entering the contest averaging more than 200 yards through the air per game, but the Mules didn’t need to open up the passing game with Baca leading the way.
However, Caleb Wood threw two interceptions and had another one called back on a roughing-the-passer penalty.
David Wood said the pendulum of momentum could have swung Denver City’s way with any more turnovers, something that needs to be fixed before next week.
“It seemed like they capitalized on those turnovers,” David Wood said. “The teams we got to play in the future — the Eastlands and the Idalous and the Littlefields — that’s a big pendulum swinging. We got to stop that thing from swinging.”
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CLASS 2A DIVISION I BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFF
at Pirate Stadium, Woodrow
MULESHOE 47, DENVER CITY 22
Muleshoe 26 14 7 0 — 47
Denver City 0 14 8 0 — 22
MULE — Xavier Reyes 18 pass from Caleb Wood (kick failed); 7:14
MULE — Jr. Baca 7 run (pass failed); 5:00
MULE — Baca 17 run (Ignacio Elizalde kick); 3:39
MULE — Baca 13 run (Elizalde kick); 0:22
DC — Clancy David 37 run (Mason Milligan run); 7:42
DC — Keyshawn Hawkins 28 pass from David (kick failed); 6:29
MULE — Baca 48 run (Elizalde kick); 5:55
MULE — Wood 2 run (Elizalde kick); 2:07
MULE — Saul Sanchez 15 pass from Wood (Elizalde kick); 7:22
DC — Milligan 2 run (King pass from David); 3:03
First downs 25 13
Rushes-yards 52-434 25-107
Passing yards 120 178
Comp.-att.-int. 11-21-2 16-35-2
Punts-avg. 2-62 5-150
Fumbles-lost 4-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-61 5-45
RUSHING: Muleshoe, Jr. Baca 27-231, Caleb Wood 15-114, Ray Martinez 8-83, Braden Bessire 1-4, Saul Sanchez 1-2; Denver City, Clancy David 15-73, Mason Milligan 4-24, Kaleb King 5-5.
PASSING: Muleshoe, Wood 10-20-2—119, Sanchez 1-1-0—1; Denver City, David 16-35-2—178.
RECEIVING: Muleshoe, Austin Ross 4-46, Xavier Reyes 3-33, Matthew Barron 2-17, Saul Sanchez 1-15, Colten Harris 1-9; Denver City, Keyshawn Hawkins 6-99, Brent Golden 7-42, King 2-16, Ivan De La Rosa 1-16.