Mustangs drop season finale in Lorena

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The Madisonville football team (5-5, 3-3) concluded their regular season with a 40-10 road loss to the Lorena Leopards on Friday, ending their playoff chances with a Fairfield win in Robinson.

The Mustangs got off to a hot start when Jeremiah Gilbert intercepted Lorena quarterback Bradley Lina on the first drive of the game. Tyrese Brown was then able to lead the Madisonville offense inside the Leopard five-yard line, but Lorena came up with a big goal line stand early.

“We got to be able to punch that in,” said Madisonville head football coach Rusty Nail. “That is what we are and that is what we do.”

“That was a big play in this game,” said Brown, who left with an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return. “We did not get enough push off the line and could not convert.”

After Lorena’s fourth down stop to seize momentum, Lina hit wide receiver Ben Craig in stride for what would be a 97-yard touchdown and a 14-point swing. Later in the quarter, the two would connect again from 50 yards out to give the Leopards a two-score lead.

The lone Mustang touchdown of the night came on a 42-yard rush by Brown on fourth and short early in the second quarter. But just minutes later, Lorena retaliated with a 57-yard rushing score of their own from A.J. Bell. Another long connection between Lina and Craig later in the quarter helped set up a 5-yard score and a 27-7 Lorena advantage at the break.

With Brown sidelined, Armando Juarez stepped in at quarterback for the remainder of the game. The Mustangs led a promising drive deep into Leopard territory to start the half, but a fumble would end the threat.

In a tough spot, Juarez made a number of impressive throws including a completed deep shot to Gage Smith in the fourth quarter. This would eventually lead to a converted 25-yard field goal attempt by Mauricio Aceves.

“I just wanted to come in and perform well, it was big for me because of how young I am,” said 15-year old Juarez. “I was just looking to score for the team.”

With the loss, Madisonville has been eliminated from postseason contention.

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