Mustangs fall to Carthage in road finale

Posted 11/3/20

The Madisonville football team fell to the top-ranked Carthage Bulldogs 56-0 Friday to drop to 1-3 in district play and were officially eliminated from playoff contention when Shepherd forfeited to Rusk. The Mustangs will conclude their season at MHS Friday against Jasper on senior night.

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Mustangs fall to Carthage in road finale

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The Madisonville football team fell to the top-ranked Carthage Bulldogs 56-0 Friday to drop to 1-3 in district play and were officially eliminated from playoff contention when Shepherd forfeited to Rusk. The Mustangs will conclude their season at MHS Friday against Jasper on senior night.

“They are what we thought they were,” said head coach Russell Urbantke after the team’s loss to Carthage, who remained undefeated and atop the state’s 4A rankings. “(Quarterback Kai Horton) is really good, their offensive line is really good and, of course, they have one of the top defenses in the state.”

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead with a 34-yard score from running back Mason Courtney after their defense forced a three-and-out. On their ensuing offensive possession, Horton found Craig McNew deep up the middle of the field to take a 14-0 advantage.

“For the most part I felt like, on defense, we made them work for it,” said Urbantke. “They had one big shot over the top, but I was proud of the kids’ effort and how they fought.”

Carthage found the end zone three times in the first quarter and three times in the second quarter to build a 42-0 lead at the halftime break. The second half was played with a running clock.

2020 marks the third straight season Madisonville has missed the playoffs and the first they have competed in District 10-4A DII. They also competed in one of the state’s top districts from 2018-19 before the current realignment.

The team’s current roster features 10 seniors and a plethora of younger players who saw their first varsity level experience this season.

“We are going to fall short of that goal this year,” said Urbantke. “Speaking to the younger ones, they see what it is going to take to make the playoffs in one of the toughest districts in the state of Texas.”

The team now shifts their focus to their district finale against Jasper and honoring the careers of its 10 seniors.

“Honoring those guys and all the hard work they’ve put into our program,” said Urbantke. “That is what Friday night will be about this week. It goes all the way back to last spring, before (the COVID-19 pandemic) hit. We had our early morning weight room sessions. That is when those seniors first stepped up and where a lot of that (leadership) starts. They needed to show (the team’s younger players) what hard work is. Those guys did a good job with that.”

Despite the unprecedented difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mustangs did not lose any of their scheduled competitions throughout the season.

“We are one of the fortunate football teams that is actually going to have 10 games,” said Urbantke. “There are quite a few teams that have had to miss multiple games because of (COVID-19). I’ve talked to them about just being thankful that you still get to play the game that you love.”

The team’s senior players include Armando Juarez, Patrick Brazzell, Landen Jackson, Ryan Kinsey, Bradley Longoria, Jace Snook, Cade Colwell, Konner Atkins, Josh Griffin and Jer’Tavius Brown.

They will be honored on the field at Mustang Stadium with their loved ones Friday prior to the team’s 7:30 matchup against Jasper.

The Jasper Bulldogs enter the contest with a 3-1 district record and a second place standing. Their lone loss came to Carthage Oct. 16 (35-18). They defeated Center Friday by a score of 41-13.

“(Jasper) runs the ball really well,” said Urbantke. “They have a dominant and very large offensive line. They just kind of pound the ball and keep pounding it. They throw the ball very few times, it is usually pretty successful because they run the ball over and over, you kind of get caught up in the secondary looking in the backfield.

“Defensively, they run to the ball very well. Their speed is for sure their strength. They may not be quite as big as some of the defenses we’ve played this year, but they rank up there as maybe the fastest.”

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