Mustangs prepare for District slate

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The Madisonville Mustangs will begin their District 11 schedule on Friday when they travel to Shepherd to face the Pirates.

The Pirates and Mustangs are both 5-1 as they enter the matchup.

The only record that ultimately matters is district, but it’s a nice turnaround from last season’s 1-5 standing at this point.

“It really makes no difference any year,” said head Madisonville football coach Rusty Nail. “This week we are officially 0-0 and our 5-1 start goes out the window.”

The Mustangs would go on to split their four conference games in 2016 and ultimately place third out the five schools and qualify for the postseason.

The Mustangs will get a big test to begin district in 2017 with a road matchup in Shepherd. Apart from a 5-1 record to start the year, the Pirates boast a perfect 4-0 record at home. Their lone road win came on Friday night, which was also their first contest within District 11. Shepherd toppled the Longhorns 46-0 and posted 54 points at home against Huntington the week before.

“Shepherd is a good football team with a running back that averages 14.5 yards per carry and a physical defense,” said Nail. “They play really hard and show great effort.”

Madisonville is coming off of a bye week and their first loss of the season in Rusk on Oct. 6.

“I like having the bye at the beginning of conference rather than in the middle or the end,” said Nail. “Still, it certainly doesn’t give us any sort of advantage. It’ll be a challenging football game and we will have to play well defensively to win or else it will take a lot of points.”

The battle for District 11 will continue after Shepherd when the Mustangs return to Madisonville on Oct. 27 to host Royal. The Falcons have had a tough 0-6 start to the 2017 season and will look for their first win at home against Tarkington on Friday.

Madisonville hits the road for the final time of the regular season on Nov. 3 at Bellville and round out the year against Tarkington at home on Nov. 10.

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