Mustangs persevere through shaky start

Posted 9/1/20

The Madisonville Mustangs allowed a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the first minute of Saturday’s season opener after Diboll returned the kickoff to their 28-yard line. The defensive unit would allow just six more points in the remainder of the game and help secure the victory with a late takeaway and score.

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Mustangs persevere through shaky start

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The Madisonville Mustangs allowed a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the first minute of Saturday’s season opener after Diboll returned the kickoff to their 28-yard line. The defensive unit would allow just six more points in the remainder of the game and help secure the victory with a late takeaway and score.

“Opening the game like we did, I am just proud of how they fought,” said head coach Russell Urbantke. “Just to battle through the heat and humidity and playing on a Saturday. Everything about last week was really about how 2020 is going; (the game) was moved here, then back to Diboll, then moved to Saturday, but our kids did not let any of that phase them.”

The Mustangs bounced back from the opening drive with a three-and-out on Diboll’s ensuing possession. After back-to-back scoring drives by the offense, Madisonville’s defense was tasked with defending the lead as Diboll drove down the field again in the second quarter.

Diboll’s Jaylon Willis had to retreat in order handle a high snap inside the Madisonville 30 and quickly looked deep downfield in order to avoid approaching defenders. His pass was intercepted by Jeremiah Burns for the first key turnover of the afternoon.

Burns also tied linebacker Jace Snook for most Madisonville tackles Saturday (10) and returned a punt for a touchdown late in the contest.

Cody Borgfeld and Josh Griffin were next with six tackles. Two of Borgfeld’s came behind the line of scrimmage.

Jertavius Brown, Rayce Hudson, Ronaldo Willis, Andres Lopez and Brayden Williams all recorded four tackles in the win. Brown, Willis and Snook each recorded a tackle for a loss along with Ronnie Mosley.

The unit’s final turnover ended any chance Diboll had at a late comeback. The Lumberjacks were five yards away from cutting the deficit to one possession in the fourth quarter when Patrick Brazzell stripped the ball away and took it 95 yards to put the Mustangs up 22, an immediate 13-15-point swing.

The defense also recorded a goal line stand in the second half with the help of two more errant snaps by Diboll deep in Madisonville territory. The unit’s young secondary rose to the challenge against an experienced offensive opponent, despite allowing one deep score through the air in the second quarter.

“I thought (the secondary) handled it well,” said Urbantke. “We knew we were going to get tested over the top, and they got one on us, but we live and learn and we will will get better.”

Madisonville coaches praised all players for their metal toughness in persevering through all of the opener’s last-minute changes and battling through Saturday’s heat advisory en route to a victory.

“Even when the kids got off the bus, as grueling as the heat and everything was, they still had a bounce in their step,” said Urbantke. “That is going to do wonders for us, to get off on the right foot like that.”

Madisonville will host Liberty in their home opener at MHS Friday at 7:30 p.m. as they reconvene under the lights and attempt to start the season 2-0. Urbantke recalls Liberty from a playoff matchup during his first year as an assistant with MHS in 2016.

“They are kind of in between offenses,” said Urbantke. “I think they kind of want to be a spread offense but, when things go bad, they go right back to what they did (in 2016). They like to run the football and will run a lot of double wing. They like to spread you out and have a couple athletes out on the edge they like to get the ball to.”

On the other side, the Mustangs will see different schemes while taking on Liberty’s defense.

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