The Southwestern heights Mustangs line up in a three-back power set Friday night against Hugoton. The Mustangs entered the game as the underdog but gave the Eagles a battle before falling 21-20. Daily Leader photo/Chrs Yearick
By CHRIS YEARICK
• Daily Leader
Kismet – In an epic battle to the finish, the Southwestern Heights Mustangs met the Hugoton Eagles in the Mustang Corral at Friday night’s football game. The Eagles barely escaped with the 21-20 victory.
The Mustangs first possession stifled shortly after senior Taylor Collins broke away for a 12-yard carry and a first down. Going for it on fourth and goal at their own 38-yard line, the Mustangs could not break lose and the Eagles took over on downs.
As the Eagles landed in good field position in their first possession, anxiety intensified as they moved the ball to the Mustang 24-yard line for a first down. The Mustangs defense held fast and a tackle for a 6-yard loss by junior Junior Herrera followed by an ear-splitting end zone interception by sophomore Ben Johnsrud gave the ball back to the Mustangs. With intense defenses, both sides were held scoreless at the end of the first quarter.
In a penalty-ridden second quarter, the Mustangs drove the ball from the 20-yard line clear to a first and goal at the 2-yard line. Finally, at 7:21 in the second, junior Ruben Chavez pushed the ball through the Eagles barrier to score the first touchdown of the night. With the PAT blocked by the Eagles, the score put the Mustangs on top 6-0.
Excitement was resounding when only a minute later, the Mustang defense forced a fumbled and recovered the ball for the offense at 6:19. Capitalizing on their good fortune, the Mustang offense scored again at 2:05 in the second with a pass completion to senior Ethan Davis. The two-point conversion by sophomore Rogelio Martinez increased the lead to 14-0.
Undeterred, the Hugoton Eagles managed the clock and field the threw a touchdown reception with only 11 seconds on the clock. The PAT decreased their deficit 14-7 at the half.
Coming out in the third, the Eagles were seeking to even the game. Steadily moving the ball, Hugoton accomplished four first downs leading to their touchdown at 6:53. With the PAT, the match was on at 14-14.
Though scoreless in their next possession, the Mustangs rode on the backs of the tenacious Mustang defense who handed the ball back to them with another forced fumble and recovery by senior Mustang James Abla. Stifled again in their game, the offense handed the ball back to the Eagles with good field position at the Mustang 37-yard line. In two plays, the Eagles pulled ahead and ran in a 32-yard rushing touchdown at 1:50 and led at the end of the third 21-14..
In a game of defenses, the teams traded unsuccessful possessions until 2:14 in the fourth when another pass completion was made. In a 2nd and goal situation, Mustang senior Ethan Davis caught the ball in the end zone making the score 21-20. Looking to take the lead, the Mustangs attempted a two-point conversion. Failing in the rush, the Southwestern Heights Mustangs were held away from victory by the Hugoton Eagles who held on to win the contest 21-20.
Out of home field advantage next week, the Southwestern Heights Mustangs take to Scott City for their next play.