NEEDLES — The Needles High School Mustangs varsity football team stampeded past the Calvary Chapel Lions on their way to a 35-0 victory in the NIAA (Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association) 2A South League playoff game Nov. 8 on Branigan Field.
The Mustangs forced the Lions to turn the ball over on downs in their first series and the Mustangs came out a little flat as well and had to punt the ball back to the Lions. The punt bounced into the end zone; the Lions tried to run it back; the Mustangs made the tackle behind the goal line and put the first two points on the board for a safety.
“It was a big play for us because it was 0-0 and that gave us a lead,” said Matt Fromelt, Mustangs head coach.
The Mustangs’ running game was a key factor in the win as they accumulated a total of 304 yards on the ground. A couple of those runs were for big gains: 20 or 30 yards; which gave the Mustangs great field position.
The Mustangs’ defense came up big as well. At one point the Lions were able to get to the 11-yard line but the Mustangs held their ground for three straight plays, even tackling the Lions for losses. The Lions tried to kick a field goal and went wide right.
The Mustangs’ first touchdown came on a running play in which Ivan Stone carried the ball for five yards, making the score 8-0.
The Mustangs’ defense was on the field again and they were able to force a fumble that Josh Schaffer picked up and ran to the seven-yard line.
“It was like a dream for me that I achieved tonight,” said Schaffer.
The Mustangs found themselves on the 15-yard line after a penalty was called against them; shook it off and, in the next snap, Nathan Parker found Coy Cameron in the end zone to make it 14-0.
The Mustangs got into their groove on offense and were moving the ball with ease on the Lion defense. The defense once again shut down the Lion offense and gave the ball back to the Mustangs with great field position. The Mustangs marched the ball down to the two yard line where Parker found Gabriel Belt in the end zone for his second touchdown pass of the game; making the score 21-0 heading into halftime.
“It felt good to be back on the field and with the team,” said Belt. He had suffered an injury earlier in the season that sidelined him for a couple of games.
The Mustangs were able to manage around 94 yards through the air and a key part of the air game was the connection between Parker and Dawsen Yeager. That connection alone accounted for four catches, 58 yards and one touchdown.
“He’s (Yeager) a good receiver. Before the game, he told me to look for him if nothing else was open,” said Parker. “So throughout the game, I would check down and if he was open I got it down to him and he would take off. He did his job very well.”
The Mustangs opened the third quarter with an onside kick that they were able to recover, putting them at the 39 yard line. A couple of plays later Tyler White got the handoff at the five and was able to break the plane, making the score 28-0.
The Mustangs forced the Lions to punt once again after tackling their running back for a loss a couple of times. The Mustangs marched to the 20-yard line and Parker found Yeager in the end zone to increase their lead to 35-0, the final score.
According to the NIAA, the Mustangs are on the road to take on the No. 1 team from the NIAA 2A North League, the Yerington Lions, on Nov. 16. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
“We have to come out focused on our job out of the chute,” said Fromelt. “Yerington is a very good team, well disciplined, a good program and well coached; so we just have to play with 100 percent effort.”