It took them a while to get it done, but they got it done to mixed reviews. A match that took five days to complete, fittingly, ended with nothing settled. The 4-2-2 Grandview Wolves made the trek over from east Aurora on Thursday, September 14 to Mullen High School to battle the 2-1-1 Mustangs in the opening round of Centennial League play. Twenty minutes into the match with the score goalless for either team, weather rolled in and shut the match down to be played at a later date.
There is an old adage that has lived in the ranks of gridiron brain trusts for a long time, and as the saying goes, defense wins championships. In this day of fast and wide-open offenses, oftentimes that is where the focus lies and where the stars tend to show out, but it is something to behold when one gets to witness the dominance and complete beatdown by a salty-dog defense. On Friday afternoon at Jeffco Stadium, Mullen unleashed an immovable force against the Tigers which, pretty much, put the game out of reach by intermission.
Did you know that the Mullen volleyball team in its five wins leading up to its match with Golden has not surrendered a single loss. In their five wins, they are 15 and 0. I wish that could be said for their other two matches, but unfortunately, the Mustangs were shut out in both those matches. It is an interesting trend, nevertheless, and one that favors the Mustangs in their remaining non-league matches starting with Golden High School on Tuesday night.
The Mullen Mustangs hit the road again for a Thursday night matchup against the Mountain Range Mustangs at Five Star North Stadium in Thornton. After facing top-dogs in the polls in weeks one and two, the team was looking for its first win of the season and in so doing would get things rolling in the right direction. They did not disappoint themselves or their fans because they showed up and showed out!
Friday night, the Mullen Mustangs traveled to Erie High School to take on the 14th ranked Tigers and their highly touted quarterback Blake Barnett. Barnett got the Tigers off to a quick start on the game’s first possession leading the Tigers on a 73 yard drive ending in a Josh Levine 3-yard reception and score. Erie led 7-0. The next drive for Erie, Barnett hit Levine through the air for a 37-yard TD giving the Tigers an early 15-0 lead after a successful 2-point conversion. Erie would go on and tack on 7 more points to end the quarter with a 22 - 0 lead.
The Mullen girls’ volleyball program found itself on the road again for the second time in only two matches so far in this young season. On Tuesday it was Colorado Academy who hosted the girl netters, and it turned out to be a good road trip for the Mullen Mustangs. All four levels, Frosh, Sophomore, JV, and Varsity would leave victorious.
The Mullen Softball team took on the Standley Lake Gators at Doc Scavuzzo Softball Field on Tuesday afternoon. In the bottom of the 1st-inning, junior Morgan Stewart scored on a wild pitch tying the game up at 1-1. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Alia Martinez was hit by a pitch forcing in a run to give the Mustangs a 2-1 lead. A few batters later, Avery Oates, on a hot grounder resulting in a fielder’s choice, drove in the final run of the inning giving the Musangs a 3-1 lead.
When Mullen and Regis Jesuit get together, there is always the potential for a classic encounter. On Saturday at Doc Scavuzzo Softball Field on the campus of Mullen High School, it appeared to be another one for the archives. Appearances, however, can quickly change. The pitching was the dominant factor through the first two innings, and then the third inning showed up. Regis began the inning with a couple of walks and secured a lead with a 2-RBI double. From there disaster struck. Mullen committed three-straight errors allowing four more runs to score, and Regis never looked back. Mullen secured two outs on the next two batters, but Regis was able to tack on another run before taking a 7-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning.
With intermittent rain showers falling since noon, the Mullen Mustangs football team kicked off their season Friday night at home against the Columbine Rebels. The Rebels came into the matchup ranked #12 in the state and looked to make some noise this season with a veteran team filled with seniors at key positions. The Rebels started nine seniors on offense and eight on defense.
I know of a coach who many years ago when he was just a high schooler went to his principal and asked to be a player/coach in order to keep his school’s football team from having to drop the sport. His coach unexpectedly left the school and program to fight in a war that called a lot of our young men of that era to drop everything and lay it all on the line to stop an aggressor from taking over Europe. In that void, this student was persuasive enough that the principal agreed, and he and his teammates were able to enjoy another season of play. Fast forward seven decades, and that young player/coach ended up becoming the winningest football coach in NCAA history retiring at the age of 86 after winning 500 games, 4 National Championships, and becoming one of only two active coaches selected to the Hall of Fame. That coach’s name was John Gagliardi, and he coached the Johnnies of St. John’s in Minnesota for 60 seasons.
The Mullen girls’ volleyball team kicked off their season in the Lion’s den Tuesday evening. It was hot and hostile. The heat was due to an unfortunate breakdown of the facility’s cooling system. The hostility came in the form of a very good Lutheran girls’ group that repeatedly placed shots with authority where the Mustangs could not reach them, and Mullen simply could not generate a consistent offense for much of the evening. First game jitters were an apparent problem for the Mustangs, and that was amplified by the fact that Lutheran had already played a game and were playing with calmer nerves. The result was Lutheran was able to put together far too many runs which Mullen could not overcome.
The Mullen Boys’ Soccer team takes the pitch for the first time on August 22nd to get the 2023 season started. The team, led by Head Coach Matt Degitis, looks to have a great season against a competitive schedule. I asked Coach Degitis for some of his thoughts on the 2023 season. Here is what he said:
The 2023 Mullen Boy’s Golf season is underway, and head coach Jerry Koehler says it’s shaping up to be a great fall in a highly competitive Centennial League. I asked Coach Koehler for his thoughts on the season:
Tennis just keeps on rocking. Always the front-runners when Regionals roll around, expected deep runs at the individual tournament in Pueblo, and with the new Team Championship playoff, its triple the fun for those who follow closely the Mustang netters. Have expectations lessened as tennis ramps up this week and builds to a championship crescendo come October? Nope. Not a bit. The Mullen boys’ tennis team is expected to be in the thick of things, as always, and the players know in their hearts that to be true and are working to make it a reality. That is why the turnout for summer OTAs was so well attended throughout June and July. The hunger is there. That is part of the battle. The other part is believing you are good enough. This writer doubts these Mustangs lack any confidence that their season will end in any way but ultimate accomplishment with the hardware to prove it.
As the Girls’ Volleyball season is on the horizon, head coach Jeff Oliver has high hopes and expectations for his 2023 version of his team. After last season, the Mustang’s volleyball team graduated seven seniors and will now look to a group of seniors, known as the Core Four, to lead them this upcoming season. Led by the quartet of seniors, Coach Oliver and the Mustangs want to build on a solid 2022-2023 season by finishing out close games and eventually hosting a regional postseason tournament on their way to a state championship.
As the Mullen Football Team gets ready to embark on a new season, Head ‘ball Coach’ Jeremy Bennett says it means something special to wear the ‘M’ on your chest, and the team owes a lot to those who wore it before them, and because of that, expectations for this season are where they always are, high.
Coach Manu was proud of the girls after they fought hard to hold a lead that was theirs for most of the 7-inning season opener for both the Mustangs and the Rangers of Lewis Palmer. Mullen struck early pushing two runs across the plate in the bottom of the 1st-inning with back-to-back singles by Stewart and Hurtado and assistance by the Rangers with two throwing errors. The Mustangs would maintain that 2-run lead until the Rangers were able to knot it all up in the top of the 3rd-inning. That tie was short lived when in the bottom of the inning Mullen answered with two runs on a single and stolen base by Stewart, an on base by error by Hurtado, and a triple by Slucki. That lead looked like it was going to be enough for the Mustangs as Bayla Slucki, who went the distance in the circle for Mullen, was able to keep the Ranger batters off-balance at every turn, and the Mustang defense, time-and-again, made clutch plays in the field. It took the Rangers up to what appeared to be their final out of the game when they struck with 3-runs to take a 5-4 lead over the Mustangs. Mullen was unable to score in the bottom of the 7th to fall short in an electrifying home opener.
New head softball coach, James Manu, is enjoying the process. He is enjoying it because he knows it is necessary and it is the first step – building that foundation. What makes it even more enjoyable is the fact that the team is coming together. “They’ve looked great! We have a couple of positions we still need to shore up, but they work hard. I’m very happy with what we have accomplished thus far.” When building that foundation, it has to be strong in order to withstand the adverse elements that constantly try and compromise and erode what has been built. Coach Manu does not worry about that. He knows the incremental steps they have taken are sound, and more importantly, he knows it starts with the players, and they are buying in. “We tell them to trust the process and be kind to yourself. Mistakes happen. Everyone has to learn to move forward when they happen. But the attitudes are great!”
Tryouts over, placements decided, and it’s time to play, and that is what transpired on Monday at Broken Tee Golf Course in Englewood at the Cherry Creek Invitational. Kicking off the season strong is always the hope, and the Mullen linksmen showed up strong regardless of those early season jitters one may have when playing with a purpose. Mullen, with two teams entered, finished 4th with a total score of 232 and 11th with a score 244.
Homework, no problem. Newly named head coach of Mullen’s hockey program, Kyle Sargent, has already jumped feet first into the job studying game film and familiarizing himself with the current roster. When one is born and raised in New Hampshire and spent extensive time in Canada, well, hockey… it’s like breathing. It’s just what one does, and Coach Sargent is breathing big. That driving force and his desire to be a part of a faith-based culture are what led him to seek the head position and is what will push him to build on past successes. “It’s both exciting and humbling to be named as a head coach at Mullen. There are legendary names who’ve coached athletics at Mullen across the years, and the standards that they have set are appropriately high. As head hockey coach, that means that I must strive to meet those standards in everything we do in the hockey program. I’m honored and blessed to have this opportunity to serve the Mullen community.”
To say Max Egyed (pronounced Egg’ yed) is excited to be Mullen’s new Director of Sports Medicine is an understatement. One doesn’t even have to ask. The eyes tell it all. The gleam of anticipation and dutiful conviction is evident, and Max is a man who is grateful for a new challenge and a new chapter in his life. “It’s a privilege to continue building on the work of my predecessors, who have laid the foundation and built the networks to keep our kids as healthy, happy, and strong as possible. In addition to my personal alignment with Mullen’s core principles, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to lead Mullen’s Sports Medicine department into the next generation as we take residence in the new Wellness Center. I’d like to give special thanks to Joey Mahmood, Melynda Brown, Hank Hooper, and Raul Cardenas for their warm welcomes and clear commitment to Mullen’s cause.”
Track and field head coach, Taylor Bond, has added to her coaching duties at Mullen High School by accepting the head coaching position for the girls and boys’ Cross Country program. The added responsibility has enhanced her already determined focus. “I am thrilled to be announced as the new Cross Country Head Coach! I could not be more excited to get started, and this was a vision I have had since starting at Mullen was to hopefully be able to oversee both running programs!”
Mullen’s girls’ golf team locked up a solid spring season with a steady showing at the 4A State Golf Championships at Thorncreek Golf Course in Thornton, Colorado. Mullen finished 4th in a field of fifteen teams with a first-round score of 250 and followed that up with a second-day total of 251. This is the third straight top five finish at State for the Mullen’s girls’ golf team.
By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mullen, the No. 13 seed, will open the Class 4A Regionals against No. 20 Montrose; host Demons, No. 4, will take on No. 29 Denver North; the race is on for 2 victories to advance to the Championship Series.
By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
2016 graduate Maverick Handley, in the baltimore Orioles system, actually called balls and strikes while catching in a Grapefruit League game; the former Male Student-Athlete of the Year and 6th-round draft pick goes viral; popular former Mustang still chasing his boyhood dream.