Mustangs stifle Pirates in shutout to open district

Posted 10/13/20

The Madisonville defense shutout the Shepherd Pirates to help propel the Mustangs to their first district victory since 2018 Friday at MHS. The defense also came up with three takeaways in the 28-0 victory to open league play.

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Mustangs stifle Pirates in shutout to open district

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The Madisonville defense shutout the Shepherd Pirates to help propel the Mustangs to their first district victory since 2018 Friday at MHS. The defense also came up with three takeaways in the 28-0 victory to open league play.

“Do your job,” said Madisonville defensive coordinator Heath Brittain Friday after the win. “That was our motto (during the bye week). We didn't run a lot of blitzes and didn't have to. We just got back to the basics and we did our job. I am so proud of these guys.”

The Mustangs recovered two fumbles on the night, one courtesy of Cody Borgfeld and the other Patrick Brazzell. Ryan Kinsey also came away with an interception when he wrestled a wobbly pass from a Shepherd receiver’s arms in the second quarter.

“We have been preaching takeaways from day one, and it worked out for us tonight,” said Brittain.

“These last two games, we had been slacking on defense,” said linebacker Andres Lopez, who recorded two tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the win. “But this past week (of practice) was great. We have been executing and busting our butts off. We got to bring it into next week.”

Jace Snook led the Madisonville defense with 11 tackles and two behind the line of scrimmage. Lopez, Jeramiah Burns and Ronaldo Willis all followed with five tackles each. Willis, Landen Jackson, James Randle, Conner Swonke and Jer’Tavius Brown all recorded a tackle in the backfield in the win.

“It all starts with those guys up front,” said head coach Russell Urbantke Monday. “As long as our defensive line does their jobs, our linebackers will be free to make the plays. Those guys up front did a really good job (Friday).”

In the final minute of the contest, the Pirates advanced the ball down to the Madisonville six-yard line and seemed poised to break the shutout in the final seconds. The defense, however, stepped up to push them back outside the 10 and keep them out of the end zone.

“That is one of the proudest things about this game,” said Urbantke. “We got down there towards the end and knew we were going to take their best shot because it meant a lot to (Shepherd), to try and get into the end zone. The defense bucked up and held strong right there at the end.”

“With a young group like that, it was really big for us," said Brittain on maintaining the shutout in the final seconds. “That was important to me and I know it was important to them.”

The Madisonville defense will next see the Rusk Eagles, who fell to Jasper Thursday 42-21.

“We are going to have to defend the pass,” said Urbantke on their next road matchup. “They are highly skilled at the skilled positions. You cover their receivers, they’ll run the ball. If you don’t they’ll get it to their receivers. We will have to do some things differently this week that will give them fits.”

The Mustangs entered the contest following their bye week and a close home loss. After dropping all six contests in one of the state’s most competitive districts last season, the team has jumped out to a 1-0 start against a new league slate in 2020. It is a welcome feeling for a group with a number of younger players at critical positions throughout the depth chart.

“We have preached for two weeks being 1-0 (in district play),” said Urbantke. “We just carried that momentum into this week, but that was our MO in the last two weeks. The first five (non-district) games meant something, but when you really get down to it, that is what we were preaching to the guys.”

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