Suffocating Knight defense wills Mac to signature win over new District 14-5A-2 rival, Marble Falls

McCallum D creates three turnovers including a fumble recovery for a score; Knights eye second-place district finish

Coach Russell and the Knights celebrate after Jake Allison recovers a Marble Falls fumble. The Knight defense played a stout game, allowing no points and creating two fumble recoveries and one interception while holding the Mustangs’ run-heavy offense to 281 total yards. “They had fumbled it earlier in the game, so the fact that we were able to get a forced fumble that we recovered set the tone for the game” Allison said.

Caleb Melville, staff reporter

In a game with significant playoff implications for both teams, the McCallum Knights defeated the Marble Falls Mustangs, 14-0, at House Park on Thursday night in what must be acknowledged as the Knights’ best performance thus far on the young season.

The Knight defense corralled the Mustang offense, creating two critical fumble recoveries, an interception and a turnover on downs late in the game to preserve the shutout.

After the defense scored in the first half on Jake Hissey’s scoop-and-score of a fumble created by a Caleb Green tackle, the offense scored in the second half on a Jaxon Rosales-to-Nate Davidson touchdown pass of nine yards.

The methodical drive included a 15-yard reception by Brock Fanning, a 8-yard gain by JD Jordan and 26-yard scramble by Rosales. The fourth quarter included a fake punt where Brock Fanning passed to Ez Guenther for a big gain.

The Mustangs tried to rally late in the fourth, but Xavier Hudson, Guenther and Wyatt Cunningham all swatted away Mustang pass attempts on successive plays, leading to a fourth-down stop by Hudson and Cunningham that preserved the shutout.

After an 0-2 start, the Knights are now 2-2 overall and 2-1 in district and are favored in all of their remaining regular-season games. The prospect of a second-place district finish and a favorable playoff seeding are enticing and likely outcomes for the rest of the 2020 season. Originally scheduled to play Northeast, another likely playoff team in the district, at Nelson on Thursday, the Knights found out that the schedule has been scrambled due to COVID concerns. The Knights now travel to Burger Stadium on Friday night where they will play host Crockett. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Reporting by Grace Nugent.

Coach Russell and the Knights celebrate after Jake Allison recovers a Marble Falls fumble. The Knight defense played a stout game, allowing no points and creating two fumble recoveries and one interception while holding the Mustangs’ run-heavy offense to 281 total yards. “They had fumbled it earlier in the game, so the fact that we were able to get a forced fumble that we recovered set the tone for the game” Allison said. Photo by Caleb Melville.

Junior Brock Fanning carries the ball past Mustang defenders during Thursday night’s 14-0 victory over Marble Falls at House Park. The Knights had an efficient running game, gaining 151 yards to Marble Falls’ 243. Despite being outgained, the Knights outscored the Mustangs to take home the win. Photo by Grace Nugent.

Junior safety Jake Hissey upends a Mustang ball carrier in the first half of Thursday’s game. Defense was the deciding factor in the game. Not only did the Knights shut out the Mustangs, but they also scored a touchdown on defense and created three turnovers. Photo by Lindsey Plotkin.

Quarterback Jaxon Rosales throws a pass during Thursday’s game. The Mac offense struggled overall in the game, but Rosales and the offense did manage to put up more than 50 yards passing and a third-quarter insurance touchdown. Photo by Caleb Melville.

Safety Jake Hissey breaks away the line of scrimmage after scooping up a fumble in the Mustangs’ backfield. Caleb Green forced the fumble, and Hissey’s recovery and run resulted in a 70-plus yard touchdown and a lead for McCallum going into halftime. “It felt amazing as soon as I picked it up,” Hissey said. “I knew it was off to the races, and all I could think about was just, ‘Don’t get caught.’” Photo by Caleb Melville.

Wide receiver Nate Davidson goes up to make a third-quarter touchdown grab over a Mustangs cornerback. This 9-yarder from quarterback Jaxon Rosales extended the Knights lead to 14-0, which held to the end of the game. Photo by Caleb Melville.

Defensive end Caleb Green celebrates after a sack Thursday night. Green had an outstanding game with 11 tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles over the course of the night.  Photo by Caleb Melville.

Junior cornerback Wyatt Cunningham guards a Mustang receiver on one of the last plays of the game. Cunningham had two consecutive plays to disrupt a last-ditch TD effort by the Mustangs and succeeded both times in keeping the opponents scoreless. “When you’re playing against a team like that you have to play assignment football,” Cunningham said. “On that play, I initially made a mistake, but fortunately our coaches prepared us enough to where I was able to recognize the play and recover.” Photo by Caleb Melville.

Players from the Knights and Mustangs congratulate each other from a distance after their game Thursday night. The irony in this picture is that earlier in the evening the teams had been in each others faces for nearly two hours. Photo by Caleb Melville.

The Knights lock pinkies and face the crowd for the singing of the school song after the win on Thursday night at House Park. This tradition was accentuated when half the stadium lights went out unexpectedly and created this unusual scene. The Knights will next face the Crockett Cougars this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Burger Stadium.