Mustangs trample Warriors to advance to semifinals
LOVELOCK, Nev. — The Whittell Warriors wanted to catch the Pershing Country Mustangs Saturday unaware and overconfident. But the undefeated Lovelock team wasn’t taking anything for granted, nor was it ready to give up a 2A state title charge.
The Mustangs rushed for 406 yards and held the Warriors to 209 total on offense to defeat them 41-14 in round one of the 2A Nevada state playoffs.
The Mustangs advanced to the state semifinals next Saturday against Lincoln County, the No. 2 Southern Seed.
“We tried everything against them …” said head Warrior coach Mike Evans, who was recently elected 2A co-coach of the year along with Lovelock’s Joe Yanni. “Nothing worked because we couldn’t physically match up.”
The Warriors improved since the first meeting at Lovelock on Sept. 27, but so had the Mustangs, and they stuck with the game plan that was so effective the first time.
The Mustangs recovered a Warrior fumble during the first play of the game to get their first scoring opportunity handed to them on a silver platter. It was as if the first game in Lovelock against the Mustangs — when the Warriors fumbled two kickoff returns and executed a meager 13 plays before the fourth quarter — had never really ended.
Starting from the Warrior 25, the Mustangs executed five plays, four of which were handoffs to senior Mustang running back Jeremy Hudson. Hudson carried the ball 1 yard for the Mustangs’ first touchdown just over two minutes into the game.
The Warriors went three and out on their next possession.
On the first play of the Mustangs’ next drive, Hudson ran for 37 yards. One play later, Alex Swearingen, a key Warrior running back and defensive back, dislocated his right shoulder for the second time this season. He did not return for the remainder of the game.
Hudson, who finished the day with 22 carries for 256 yards and five touchdowns, ran for his next 1-yard TD run with 5:25 remaining in the first. Hudson is fourth in Nevada for total rushing yards at 1,287, according to the Web site http://www.Nevadaprep.com.
“Jeremy has really turned it on this year,” said Yanni, who was doused with a cooler of ice water near the end of the game.
The Warriors, starting from their own 4-yard line, fumbled on the third play of their next drive to give the Mustangs first and goal from the 9-yard line.
Hudson ran the score up to 20-0 with his third touchdown run on an option with 3:47 in the first quarter.
Mustangs’ sophomore defensive back Crosby Moen intercepted Warrior quarterback Nick Lowe on the second play of the Warriors’ next possession.
Running back Tom Rector scored eight plays later on a 35-yard run on a reverse to bring the Mustangs’ lead to 27.
The Warriors caught a break with 1:47 go before the half when Mustang quarterback Dustin Burrows threw to a receiver behind the line of scrimmage. The receiver dropped the pass and officials ruled the throw a pitch.
Sophomore back Chris Anton picked up the loose ball and ran nearly 40 yards for a Warrior touchdown.
Lowe, who went 7 for 17 in the air for 116 yards and rushed three times for nine yards, ran for the 2-point conversion.
Offensively, the Warriors didn’t find success against the Mustangs, but they were more effective in the air than on the ground.
Brian Jones, who made first team all-league honors, caught seven passes for 116 yards. He also intercepted Burrows just before halftime.
Senior running back Casey Canto rushed 16 times for 37 yards and Summers, a second-team, all-league lineman, rushed eight times for 47 yards.
He also caused a Mustang fumble in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Aaron Laub picked up the ball and ran approximately 10 yards for the Warriors’ second touchdown with 5:23 to play in the game.
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