By Brody Feldmann
Last season, the Mustang Broncos football team entered the season with expectations of being among the best teams on the west side of the state.
Mustang shot out of the gates the first two weeks as if it was ready to prove that the semifinal finish the season before wasn’t a fluke.
After two dominant victories over Yukon (31-14) and Norman (48-14) to start the season, Mustang fell into a three-game losing streak. They lost to Stillwater (14-31), Owasso (41-63) and Norman North (31-76).
Mustang won three of its last five games with victories over Edmond North (41-27), Putnam City North (37-14) and Southmoore (28-0). But with losses to Moore (27-29) and Union (28-48) Mustang missed the playoffs by a game.
The Moore matchup was the turning point for Mustang. The Lions victory over Mustang pushed the Lions into the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons.
“We haven’t ignored it. We have used it as motivation throughout the offseason. 5-5 isn’t what we expect and that isn’t what we’ve been accustom to since I’ve been here,” Dombek said.
With the Broncos missing the playoffs, it was the first time Mustang had been at home in early November since 2012.
“I don’t personally think you feel pressure, I think you apply pressure,” said defensive coordinator Adam Gaylor. “Everything I’ve read there isn’t much talk about the Mustang Broncos.”
Mustang brings back enough talent and experience on the defensive side of the ball to be one of the best units in Oklahoma.
The defense will be asked to carry the Broncos until the offense and new offensive coordinator Aso Pogi can find their identity.
Expect names like Justin Wardlaw (SR. DL), Liam Krivanek (JR. S), Joey Sylvester (JR. S) and Judson Wardlaw (JR. LB) to be leaders on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think there is a little pressure, but at the end of the day it just comes down to doing your job and if we do that we will be better than 5-5 and make the playoffs,” said Wardlaw.
Offensively, Mustang will look to its three-headed monster in Chaz Meadows (SR. RB), George Lonzaga (JR. RB), and Harvey Phillips (JR. RB) to eat up yards on the ground and help first-year starting quarterback Haden White or Hayden Conrad move the ball down the field.
Last season the Broncos had a hard time controlling the tempo of the game, but that is one key aspect that Pogi preaches each week to his offense. It will be surprising if the Broncos don’t control the tempo of most games this season.
Look for the Broncos to bounce back this season and find themselves back in the playoffs in the second week of November.
“Making the playoffs – that usually isn’t even a goal of ours. That is just an expectation of ours,” said Dombek.