The Madisonville Mustangs began their district slate with a statement win on the road in Shepherd and improved to 6-1 overall on the season.
The Mustangs used 34 unanswered points to runaway from the Pirates and easily leave victorious.
“This win means we’re still in the race for a one seed in the playoffs,” said Madisonville head coach Rusty Nail. “It was an ugly game as both teams were trying to keep the other offense off of the field. There was not much balance between run and pass.”
Madisonville’s defense recorded two sacks and recovered two fumbles on the night, but their biggest contribution can’t be found in a box score: the Mustangs dictated the intensity on both sides of the ball and beat the Pirates to their spots when it counted most.
The Mustangs allowed just 13 points on two touchdowns to a Shepherd team that has given opposing defenses problems all season long. The unit kept the Pirates right where they needed to be while the offense could build momentum into the second half.
The offense controlled the ground game all night with a steady attack from numerous ball carriers. All told, Mustang rushers logged 372 yards and 7.8 per carry. Cornelius Merchant led the way with 105 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Uriel Willis and Aaron Nellums also found the end zone.
Madisonville will continue their district schedule with their first home game in nearly a month on Friday. They will host the Royal Falcons, who defeated Tarkington 16-14 to earn their first district win of the season.
“We’re excited about being back home,” said Nail. “It’s nice to be playing in a nice facility like ours.”
The home win for the Falcons was also their first win of the entire regular season. They will enter this matchup with Madisonville 1-6 overall, but 1-1 where it counts. This will be the team’s third district matchup of the season. They lose to Bellville 49-6 on the road on Oct. 13.
“Royal is very fast and athletic,” said Nail on his next opponent. “They’re a pretty similar team to Crockett in terms of their speed.”
Madisonville will seek their second straight win and a 2-0 start to their district schedule. After all of the hype against Shepherd, it’s important that the Mustangs don’t overlook a weaker opponent at home. The game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Mustang Stadium.