It took putting the ball on the carpet three times to turn a rivalry into a rout in the 50th edition of the Cornerstone Clash.
The Mustang defense matched its playmaking counterparts on the offensive side of the ball, forcing four turnovers. The result of three fumbles was 17 points of damage as the Broncos took control with a 31-7 lead and cruised to a 48-7 win over Yukon at Bronco Stadium.
Mustang quarterback Tristen Russell completed 15-of-21 passes for 268 yards, four touchdowns and one interception to a plethora of playmakers.
“We started off the game a little shaky offensively,” Mustang head coach Lee Blankenship said. “We had a great game plan. We dropped some balls and we kind of danced up there at our running back position, kind of tried to dance through the hole a little bit.
“This is a big deal for a first game for a 16-year-old boy. A lot of first-year starters right here. They did a great job of getting settled in. And once we got comfortable and started getting the ball to our weapons, they just made plays.”
The Millers held their own through most of the first half. The Broncos took an early lead with Russell hitting Chaz Bradley across the middle. The former Miller caught the ball and ran past the defense for a 21-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead. Yukon answered back as the running game began to eat up some yards. Brayden Dutton caught the defense looking with a pump fake and Ezra Johnson slipped behind the secondary and was wide-open for a 27-yard touchdown and a 7-6 lead with the extra point.
That would serve as the high-water mark for Yukon.
Mustang answered quickly with Pryce Burgess taking final honors on an 11-yard run. Russell kept the ball on the conversion for a 14-7 lead at the 4:54 mark. Yukon proceeded to turn the ball over the next two times it had the ball as the game began to slip away.
Taesyn Harper recovered a fumble to set up a three-yard touchdown run by Jay Bedford for a 21-7. Yukon fumbled again, putting the defense in a bind. A reverse was foiled for a big loss, but a personal foul bailed Mustang out. It proved costly as Brody Massie drilled a 39-yard field goal to extend the lead 24-7 going into the half.
“I felt like our fight stayed pretty good, we put the ball on the ground,” Yukon head coach Marshall Hahn said. “A couple of them were a little bit of lucky plays. We are trying to slide up in the pocket and the ball gets pawed out. We didn’t get any bounces tonight when the ball went on the ground. They rolled a few snaps and were able to pick it up and execute. Hats off to them, they did a good job. They played a good game and took advantage of the mistakes and opportunities that we gave them.”
Needing something good to happen to get back in the game, the Miller offense proceeded to dig a bigger hole with another turnover on the ground. Mustang quickly took advantage through the air as Russell found Keegan Bass on an 18-yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to 31-7. Mustang would go on to dominate the second half as Russell found Bass for a 22-yard touchdown and a four-yard touchdown. Chance Johnson added a 42-yard field goal.
Blankenship said the field goal at the end of the half provided a huge spark for the team at the half and provided a huge momentum shift for the team. Jacobe Johnson shined on both sides of the ball as he hinted toward a breakout year. The junior had one rush for 33 yards and four receptions for 81.
Mustang spread the ball around to all its playmakers. Bedford had 75 yards on 10 carries and Burgess had 46 yards on seven carries.
Bass had 60 yards receiving on four receptions with three touchdowns. Andrew Dollar caught two for 48 yards and Cameron Broadus had two receptions for 38.
“We have a stable full of ballplayers,” Blankenship said. “We had a lot of different guys touch the ball. Pryce Burges is a first-year starter at running back. He and Jay Bedford shared some carries tonight. We call them thunder and lightning. Burgess, 22, is downhill and a hard runner and Jay has a little wiggle. I think both of them had touchdowns in a big moment tonight. I am really excited about the weapons we have and how they progressed in the offseason.”
Dutton led the Millers on the ground, carrying 15 times for 85 yards. Keaton Hahn tacked on 41 yards on 12 carries.
Dutton was 8 for 16 for 74 yards and the touchdown in the air. Ezra Johnson had three receptions for 48 yards and Hahn had two for 15. Parker Means had an interception to help lead the defense.
“Before the game, we talked about the fact that no one play, no one game, defines who you are,” Marshall Hahn said. “One of our coaches is fond of commenting and quoting that sometimes the loudest voices are the ones that stand outside the arena. We just have to make sure we keep on building the trust within ourselves and our teammates.
“Obviously, we have to take this as a learning experience, get better and clean up the mistakes. But we do this again in seven days and we have to clean this up pretty quick.”
Mustang will travel to Stillwater this week. The Pioneers are 1-0 following a 30-20 win over Edmond Santa Fe. Yukon will host Deer Creek Friday night. The Antlers are 2-0, knocking off Southmoore 44-0.