Mauricio Aceves nailed a 31-yard field goal attempt as time expired in Fairfield on Friday to propel the Mustangs to a 20-17 victory over the Eagles and a 2-0 start in district play.
“This is an unexplainable feeling right now,” said Aceves moments after he converted the game winning attempt, his second field goal of the contest. “I have the best kicking coach in Bryson Nail. He trains me everyday to be the best and he pushed me today.”
“He is just a difference maker,” said Madisonville head coach Rusty Nail on his kicker. “We always know that from the 40-yard line in we have a chance to put up some points. It was all about setting him up in the middle of the field because I knew he would be money.”
The Madisonville defense staged the dramatic finish with an interception and back-to-back three and outs on Fairfield’s final three possessions. Jeremiah Gilbert snagged the pick, his third of the evening off Eagle quarterback Chad Rushin, and brought it all the way back inside the 15 yard-line while the Mustangs trailed 17-10.
“I just caught the ball and took off, I thought I was going to be tackled right away but was able to advance it pretty far up the field,” said Gilbert. “We have been working hard on stopping teams on third and fourth down and we came up big tonight.”
Gilbert’s three interception performance and a fumble recovery by Reyshawn Moore in the opening quarter helped the Mustang defense make up for two long scores by the Eagles. Moore would also come up with a key blocked punt in the first half that led to the first Aceves field goal.
Offensively, Madisonville finished the work Gilbert started in the fourth quarter and recorded the tying touchdown drive after multiple penalties inside the 5-yard line. Following a false start, Uriel Willis found a way to keep his feet and fight into the end zone on third and goal from the six.
“My only concern was finding a way to cross that goal line for my teammates,” said Willis. “This was a very exciting win for us as a team.”
The offense was again placed in a favorable position as they prepared for the final drive of the night. After Aceves pinned Fairfield at the 1-yard line and the Madisonville defense came up with a stop, the Eagles were punting deep in their own territory.
While they started at the Fairfield 35, the Mustangs were able to advance it all the way to the 14 to set up Acecves. They were able to do this and milk the remainder of the clock after a critical carry by quarterback Tyrese Brown to move the chains on third down.
“Each and every day our coaches talk to us about adversity and how to overcome it,” said Brown, whose offense was struggling to put up points heading into the final quarter. “Tonight we overcame it. Their defense switched it up on us and our line adapted. We are also very fortunate to have (Aceves), I call him ‘Mr. Automatic.’”
The victory is the fourth straight for the Mustangs after an 0-2 start to non-district play. They will look to improve to 3-0 in the new district when they host Connally at MHS next Friday at 7:30 p.m.