If Del Rio fans were afraid the Rams would overlook the winless Mustangs they soon learned Del Rio wasn’t looking past anyone.
Coming off a tough seven-point loss to Laredo United, the Rams dominated on both sides of the ball and rolled to a 42-6 win over the Mustangs Friday night at Walter Levermann Ram Stadium.
The win moves the Rams to 2-3 on the season and 2-1 in District 30-6A.
Nixon falls to 0-4 overall and 0-4 in district play.
Del Rio’s defense was the first to make a difference in the game as Luis Pablo Galaviz blocked a Nixon punt on the Mustangs’ first possession of the game. Alejandro De Luna recovered it for Del Rio at the Nixon 24 and put the offense in prime position to strike.
Five plays later, Victor Medina hit Jovahn West on a quick pass to the right. The speedy receiver did the rest of the work, racing through the Mustangs and into the end zone untouched for a 14-yard touchdown. Donny Lewis added the extra point to stake the Rams to a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
The defense came up big again on Nixon’s possession as Sergio Treviño made a leaping interception of an Austin Garcia pass and set the Rams up at their own 49-yard line.
After Medina and West connected for a 12-yard gain, Medina swung a screen pass to running back Aiden Huerta. The Rams’ leading scorer this season then found a seam in the middle of the Mustangs defense and broke loose for a 39-yard touchdown. Lewis’ kick made it 14-0.
Nixon threatened to score on its next possession when a running back J.J. Hernandez was able to burst through the middle of Del Rio’s defense and rumble 35 yards to the Del Rio 21-yard line.
A run by Erik Ruiz put the Mustangs inside the Rams’ 10-yard line, but the Rams would allow only three yards from that point with Jesus De Luna shutting the door on a Nixon scoring chance, tackling the Mustangs’ ball carrier at the three-yard line to force a turnover on downs.
Del Rio didn’t stay in the shadow of their own end zone long.
Ricky Haynes started the drive with a 26-yard run. Nixon was flagged for a personal foul on the play when Haynes was tackled via a horse collar, and the additional 15 yards on the penalty moved the Rams to near midfield.
On the next play, Haynes struck again, this time out-muscling a Nixon defender on a jump ball off the arm of Medina. The play went for 33 yards.
Two plays later, Haynes finished off the drive with an 11-yard catch and run that ended with the Rams’ third touchdown of the quarter. Lewis’ kick was on target again, and the Rams carried a 21-0 lead.
Nixon turned to its running game on its next drive and was able to pick up two first downs before a fumbled exchange led to Del Rio’s Andrew Garza recovering the ball near midfield and giving the Rams the ball once again just seven seconds into the second quarter.
Del Rio didn’t waste time moving down the field.
Medina hit West for a 23-yard gain that was aided by a big block from Isaac Salazar.
Passes to Marcus Leak and Haynes put the Rams at the Nixon 13. After a short run by Huerta, Haynes’ number was called again and he responded with a physical run that looked stuffed around the six-yard line, but the senior kept churning his legs and eventually broke loose to cap a 12-yard scoring run. Lewis’ kick made it 28-0 with just over eight minutes left in the first half.
Del Rio nearly added a safety to its scoring output when Jaden Talamantez sacked Garcia at the Nixon one-yard line. But after a five-yard pass gave the Mustangs some breathing room, Nixon was forced to punt and the Rams’ offense went back to work.
It took two plays and 41 seconds for Del Rio to return to the end zone as Medina tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the first half when he lofted a perfect ball to a Leak who sprinted to the corner of the end zone for the catch and score, helping make the score 35-0 in favor of Del Rio.
If Garcia didn’t familiarize himself with the Rams defenders before, he certainly did on Nixon’s ensuing drive. He was sacked by Jesus De Luna for an eight-yard loss on first down, then after Nixon achieved a first down, he was sacked again by Talamantez for a six-yard loss.
Nixon would eventually get on track with a 20-yard run by fullback Pablo Tovar, but on fourth-and-six, Rams defensive back Ricky Cedillo stepped up and stopped Antonio Calderon for just a three-yard gain to force a turnover on downs.
Del Rio did make one mistake in the first half when Medina was picked off on the ensuing drive by Calderon, who also played linebacker on defense. He returned the ball to the Rams’ three-yard line before being forced out of bounds.
Not wanting to give up a score, the defense buckled down. Alejandro De Luna sacked Garcia on second down, Garza batted down a Garcia pass on third down, and then Talamantez finished things off by dropping Garcia well short of the first down.
Del Rio’s final score of the game came on the Rams’ first possession of the second half.
Haynes put the Rams on Nixon’s side of the field with a big return on the second half kickoff. Runs by Huerta and Haynes got the Rams inside the Nixon 30. After a 16-yard pass from Medina to Huerta, Haynes notched his third score of the game, this one on an 11-yard run.
Del Rio did get some solid play from its reserves. Galaviz had a 40-yard run which had his teammates on the sideline cheering and yelling, and Rene Martinez bowled over defenders for yards late in the game.
Nixon’s only score came on the Rams’ second interception as backup quarterback Adrian Garcia saw his pass get picked off by Alexis Aldana and returned to the Rams’ 27.
Four plays later, Nixon’s Garcia connected with Maximus Marchan for an eight-yard touchdown. Nixon was stopped on the two-point try, and that left the score 42-6, which stood as the final.
Del Rio travels to Laredo to face the Alexander Bulldogs on Friday, Nov. 20 for a 7 p.m. contest. Alexander played at Eagle Pass Friday night.