Madisonville went on a run of 34 unanswered points to run away from Shepherd in blowout fashion tonight. The critical victory gives the Mustangs a 1-0 start to their district season as they improve to 6-1 overall.
The most crucial moment of the night proved to come at the conclusion of the first half with Madisonville on top 14-7. The Pirates were knocking on the door of the end zone in an effort to tie the game at the break. Instead, Kendell Moffett recorded a pivotal sack to end Shepherd’s scoring chance and maintain the lead after 24 minutes.
“Everyone did such a great job over the last couple of weeks and we all wanted that bitter taste from Rusk out of our mouths,” said Madisonville defensive coordinator Randall Cherry after the win. “The players did everything we asked of them tonight. We had to be prepared for some different formations and really lock down on coverage.”
Cherry and the Mustang defense had to ensure fresh legs on their side of the ball, especially up front. The Pirates have showcased an extremely impressive ground game thus far but were limited tonight with the exception of two drives. Shepherd recorded just two scores in the 34-13 contest.
Offensively, Madisonville bounced back from a quiet first quarter and stole the show on the ground. In the second half, the Mustangs capitalized on their opportunities and built an insurmountable lead. Three backs for Madisonville managed to find the end zone in the win, including Cornelius Merchant, Uriel Willis and Aaron Nellums. Merchant found pay dirt three times including two touchdowns in the final quarter to help put the Pirates to bed.
“It feels great to get the win tonight,” said Merchant before thanking his offensive lineman for a marvelous performance. “We know what we’re capable of and that we can’t get down on ourselves early. This is a huge win in terms of district so we’re just happy we came out and took care of business tonight.”
Madisonville will return home to Mustang Stadium next week for the first time since Homecoming on Sept. 29. They will welcome district opponent Royal-Brookshire to town, who defeated Tarkington 16-14 at home tonight. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Madisonville.