By Rick White
LITTLEFIELD — The Littlefield Wildcats punted on their first possession and second-to-last possession.
In between, they moved the chains methodically, pounding out a 14-6 win over Muleshoe in sledge-hammer-like fashion Friday in the District 2-3A opener for both teams.
Diminutive sophomore Jonas Comacho was the workhorse for the Wildcats, ping-ponging his way through the midway of the Mules’ defense for 95 yards on 24 carries, including a 2-yard touchdown plunge with a little more than four minutes left that secured the win.
The score capped an 18-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up more than nine minutes in a hard-hitting contest between the longtime district rivals.
Muleshoe (2-4), which managed just one first down in the second half, turned the ball over on its final two possessions desperately trying to make a big play, including an interception on a double-reverse pass.
Muleshoe coach David Wood said Littlefield didn’t do anything unexpected.
“They’ve put up a lot of points this season running right at people,” Wood said. “They’re not that big, but they’re very strong.
“They didn’t break any long ones for touchdowns, which they usually do two or three times a game. I thought our defense did an outstanding job, we just couldn’t come up with the big stop.”
Littlefield (4-2) finished with a modest 235 yards, but ran twice as many plays as Muleshoe.
The Mules moved the ball well early, picking up 97 of their 145 yards on their first two drives.
A great individual effort by sophomore Brady Black on its second possession gave Muleshoe the early lead.
On second-and-17, Black turned what looked like a moderate gain on a draw play into a 63-yard TD run, breaking two tackles in the secondary en route to the end zone.
Black finished with 82 yards on three carries.
Littlefield took the lead for good at 7-6 on the ensuing possession on a 7-yard pass from Aaron Hobratschk to a wide open Matthew Bussanmas that capped a 14-play, 69-yard drive.
Injuries forced Muleshoe to start freshman Brant Hamilton at quarterback, which limited some of what the Mules could do, Wood said.
“Brant did a good job,” Wood said. “It’s not his fault. We just didn’t get the job done.”
Senior Landon Sheets was inserted at QB after Muleshoe fell behind 14-6 and threw two passes — one was intercepted and the other incomplete.
Wood said he didn’t want to play Sheets, who is returning from a shoulder injury and missed nearly of month of practice, if he didn’t have to.