The Mustangs shared the wealth Friday night when seven Mustangs contributed to scoring the 29 points that won the game, five of those being underclassmen.
The Mustangs came out a little sluggish but were able to get things rolling after Hardin Jefferson put up the first seven points with less than two minutes ticked off of the clock.
Sophomore Justin Thomas, who had two great kick-off returns and an interception for the night, took the kick-off back to mid field and quarterback Reggie Garrett got to work with the Mustang offense, moving the ball down the field before finally hitting junior Darius Mitchell from six yards out to tie up the score at 7.
The Mustangs took the lead at the end of the first quarter, 10-7, when kicker Justin Sparrow hit a 27-yard field goal. Several minutes into the second quarter, the Hawks tied up the score when Jacoby Turner hit a 27-yard field goal himself.
It was Thomas’s turn again when he picked off Hardin Jefferson’s Blake Venable, giving the Mustangs the opportunity to pull ahead. Three plays later, using a play that the coaches named “The Hawk,” senior Justin Francis took the short pass, planted his feet and heaved the ball down the field to a wide open Mark Roberts. The touchdown put the Mustangs up, 16-10.
With two seconds to go in the half after the Chain Gang defense held tough from only a few yards out, Turner attempted another field goal but was turned away as it sailed wide left. The Mustangs led at the half and the Hawks were never able to get on the board again.
By the beginning of the second half, the field was a sloppy mud pit but that didn’t stop the Mustangs from rolling on. After taking the kick-off, the Mustangs stalled and were forced to punt to the Hawks, pinning them deep in Mustang territory. While trying to get out of a bind, HJ’s Venable took to the air but was picked off by junior Brandon Forward, who juggled the ball before taking it 23 yards for the score. A good Sparrow PAT made it 23-10.
Not to be outdone by the underclassmen on defense, senior James Haynes picked off another Venable pass late in the third, setting up the last score. On the very next play from scrimmage, junior Darius Robinson took a Garrett handoff up the middle, breaking a couple of tackles on his way to a 47-yard touchdown.
“The kids played very well and I was proud of them,” Head Coach Dan Hooks said. “It’s something when you score 29 points and you aren’t happy with that.”
The defense had a great showing, starting four sophomores and also playing a freshman occasionally, holding Hardin Jefferson to 79 yards rushing and 159 through the air.
“The defense did a good job, doing what we asked them to do,” Hooks said. “Next week, we should have DaJewel (Nelson) and Van ( Jordan ) back, and that should help us, too.”
The Mustangs will face the Orangefield Bobcats on Friday at Orangefield. The Bobcats are coming off of a heartbreaking loss in overtime to the Bridge City Cardinals late in the game this past Friday.
“Orangefield is good offensively and they play hard on defense,” Hooks said. “Coach Huckaby has done a great job with them.”
Huckaby’s son, Corey runs the offense as quarterback and Derek Evans is the running back the Mustang defense will have to key on in order to win.
Come out to McClain Stadium and cheer the Mustangs on in their last regular game of the season. Then get ready for a great play-off run!!