By Brody Feldmann
Undisciplined penalties and an upset brought an end to Mustang footballs playoff hopes.
“We have been preaching aggression the last few weeks, and when you do that you are going to get penalties,” said coach Jeremy Dombek.
Mustang lost Friday to the Putnam City North Panthers, 35-19, and in Moore, the Lions upset Owasso, clinching a playoff spot for both teams.
The Broncos had chances throughout the game to grab a lead or to tie the game multiple times, but drives would end in penalties or penalties would extend Panthers’ drives.
“We have to be smarter around the ball carrier and around the boundary,” said defensive coordinator Adam Gaylor.
Mustang’s first positive offensive drive in the first quarter witnessed the Broncos get to the Putnam City North 39 yard line before a fumble turned the ball over.
The teams exchanged blows in the second quarter with Haden White connecting with Dominik Venegas in the end zone for 25 yards. The Panthers answered right back with a 40-plus yard touchdown pass of their own.
The score stayed 7-7 until the Panthers quarterback escaped the pocket on fourth and eight and found a wide open wide receiver to take a 14-7 lead.
Putnam City North extended its lead to 21-7 on a one-yard touchdown run with 9:01 to go in the competition.
Mustang answered with a touchdown of its own when White found Charley Stover in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. The point after attempt was blocked, and the Panthers held a 21-13 lead.
Mustang forced a fumble and recovered on the Panthers 27 yard line trailing 21-13 with 5:18 to go.
“We didn’t make enough plays. We can be upset with the officials and everything like that, but we just didn’t make enough defensive plays to win,” Gaylor said.
After a couple of unsportsmanlike penalties on third down, the Broncos had to replay the down and faced a third and 39. White rolled out and looked for a receiver in the middle of the field, but a Panther safety stepped in front of the pass and returned the turnover near midfield.
Mustang’s defense forced what seemed to be a three and out, but things went crazy on fourth down.
The snap went over the punters head, he went back and picked up the fumble, rolled left and got the ball off of his left foot. After the punt was off, a Mustang defender tackled the punter, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down for the Panthers.
Putnam City North scored three plays later to extend the lead to 28-13 with 2:05 to go.
White threw his third touchdown pass of the game to Dayton Walker. Mustang failed its two point conversion and stared down a 28-19 deficit with less than a minute to go.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mustang attempted an onside kick that was recovered by the Panthers and taken 45 yards for the touchdown and a 35-19 lead.
The loss knocks out the Broncos from playoff contention with one game left against Moore on Senior Night.
“They aren’t going to quit. Our guys never quit. Those guys aren’t going to go out and quit,” said Gaylor.
Mustang coaches will be dealing with a team that knows the situation and will have to keep competing in the last game of the season.
“We have an opportunity to win a football game in front of our fans at Mustang. That should be enough to get us up for the game,” said Dombek.