There are only two teams remaining in District 29-6A that have not posted a victory in district play this season, and they meet here tonight.
When the Del Rio Rams (0-6, 0-2) and Laredo Nixon Mustangs (4-3, 0-3) meet tonight in Del Rio High’s annual homecoming game, the only thing for sure is that one of these two teams will earn their first district win of the season.
Del Rio is coming off a tough 6-0 loss at the Laredo LBJ Wolves last week. Nixon is coming off a a 49-10 thrashing at the hands of the Eagle Pass Eagles.
Nixon, which is making a return to Class 6A after several years at the 5A level, began the season with a four-game winning streak. The former 29-5A champions were scoring at least 23 points in each of those wins and allowed opponents to reach 20 points only once in that stretch.
District play has been a different story altogether.
Nixon has broken 20 points only once in its three district losses and is allowing just over 37 points per game.
Much like LBJ, Nixon is primarily a rushing team. The Mustangs have amassed nearly 1,500 rushing yards this season with the bulk of the work being done by two players - Joseph Ibarra and Pablo Tovar.
Ibarra leads the team with 80 carries for 468 yards and four touchdowns. Tovar isn’t far behind with 76 carries for 325 yards and five touchdowns.
Three other backs have at least one hundred yards of rushing offense as well - quarterback J.C. Ayala (41 carries, 124 yards, 3 touchdowns), running back Jonathan Martinez (32 carries, 143 yards) and running back Bernardo Cruz (42 carries, 165 yards and 2 touchdowns).
Ayala’s work at quarterback has been to keep defenses honest. He’s 37-for-65 for 442 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions, and all three of his scores have gone to different receivers.
In terms of receivers, one does stand out above the others - Heriberto Garcia. Garcia has caught 14 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown. He’s the only Mustangs receiver with double digit receptions and more than 100 yards receiving.
Defensively, the Mustangs will be led by Andre Pedroza, who leads the team with 51 tackles, and Luis Pacheco and Juan Torres, who each have three sacks.
Del Rio’s defense was solid against LBJ, forcing four turnovers against the Wolves. The Rams defense has forced at least one turnover in each of Del Rio’s six games this season. The defense will need to come up big again against the Mustangs if the Rams hope to snap their current nine-game losing streak dating back to last season.
Offensively, the Rams found some success on the ground against LBJ. Running back Isaac Rosales accounted for more than 100 yards of total offense in the loss, his best showing of the season. For Del Rio to beat Nixon, the offense needs to be more aggressive and utilize Del Rio’s classic ground and pound attitude of old to control the ball and dictate the pace of the game.
Weather for Friday night is project to be in the mid-60’s with a 30-35 percent chance of rain at kickoff.