The Madisonville offense was held scoreless in the first half and ultimately turned the ball over four times in a 34-21 loss in Robinson on Friday night.
While the unit struggled to find a rhythm against the Rockets early, their two scoring chances in the opening half ended in miscues that would keep them off the scoreboard until midway through the third quarter.
Trailing 7-0 in the second, Uriel Willis lost the ball in Robinson territory on third down. On the last play of the half, Mauricio Aceves missed a 41-yard field goal attempt to keep the Rockets up 14 at the break.
The Rockets intercepted quarterback Tyrese Brown three times in the second half on Friday, including a pick-six by Malik Ford deep in Madisonville territory in the third quarter to put the Mustangs down 27-0.
Despite the disastrous start, the Mustang offense found life for the remainder of the game and were able to outscore the Rockets 21-7 in the final 19 minutes.
“We handled getting down early and taking the first strike in the second half much better than we did versus Connally,” said Madisonville head football coach Rusty Nail.
Brown bounced back from the pick-six right away and would lead a scoring drive that culminated in a 13-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Keyon Johnson. Johnson also came down with a 25-yard catch on the previous play to set up the score.
“We got more focused,” said Johnson on the unit’s second half improvement. “We were not focused in the first half and the results showed. We need to just keep on moving forward as a team.”
Brown would finish his night with 113 yards through the air and also led the team in rushing with 66 yards.
“I have the utmost confidence in Tyrese,” said Nail. “He tried to force a couple of balls into coverage as we were trailing by several scores and he was trying to make a play. He does not make those throws in a close game or a different situation.”
Willis was a close second in rushing behind Brown with 65 yards. Donovan Young recorded 23 yards including a 13-yard touchdown near the end of the third quarter. Marcos Lopez, who checked in at quarterback late in the game, found the end zone on a 38-yard scramble for the last score of the night.
Aaron Nellums led the team with 150 all-purpose yards in Robinson including 39 rushing yards, a 42-yard reception and a 69-yard kick return.
In an online article recapping Friday’s game in Robinson, we credited Coach Rusty Nail with saying “I thought we played good defense in the second half.” But this quote should have read “I thought we played good defense in the first half.” The Meteor strives to be completely factual in all endeavors and apologizes for any confusion.