It was billed as the game of the week in West Tennessee as the Huntingdon Mustangs who were ranked fifth in Class 2-A hosted the Parson Riverside Panthers who came to Paul Ward Stadium Friday ranked as the number three team in Class 2-A. It was a game that came down to who made the fewest mistakes and the Huntingdon Mustang defense forced three Panther turnovers, which one of those resulted in a touchdown, and Riverside also lost yards on four different occasions due to a bad snap. The Mustang had three players with double figure tackles. C.J. Pelonero recorded 12 tackles and recovered a fumble for a touchdown, Landon Gordon had 11 tackles and Jax Bennett had 11 tackles and deflected two passes.
Riverside started the game with the intent on proving it was worthy of its state ranking as the Panthers took the opening kickoff and marched down the field in ten plays to score with 6:45 left in the first quarter on a seven-yard run by Morgan Perez. Cole Yarbro tacked on the extra point for a 7-0 lead. It would turn out to be the only points scored on the night for the Panthers.
The Mustangs who pull to within a point of tying the game on the first play of the second quarter following a short Panther punt. The Mustangs took over at the Panther 38 with 16 seconds left in the first quarter. The Mustangs gained a yard on first down as the quarter ended and on the first play of the second quarter Ashton Hutcherson scampered 37 yards to pay dirt. The extra point was missed and the Panthers held a 7-6 lead.
Kaleb Pearson recovered the first of his two fumble recoveries for the game on the Panther’s next possession at the Panther 48 and again the Mustangs had great field position. The sign of a good team is to capitalize on the opponent’s mistakes and the Mustangs cashed in the turnover in five plays as Gray Eubanks found a streaking Elijah Flowers down the middle of the field for a 38-yard scoring strike. The attempt for the two-point conversion failed and the Mustangs took a 12-7 lead to the half.
The Mustang threatened to increase their lead on the opening possession of the second half and drove from their 36 to the Panther 22 and Eubanks hooked up with Pelonero for a 22-yard scoring strike but the Mustangs made one of their few mistakes for the night as holding was called on the TD and the Mustangs failed to get a first down and turned the ball back to the Panthers at their own20.
The Mustang defense held and on second down from the Mustang 31, Eubanks broke loose for 54 yards to the Panther 15 as the third quarter ended. Two plays later Eubanks scored on a two-yard run with 11:30 left in the game and Hutcherson scored on the conversion and the Mustangs led 20-7.
The Mustang defense forced a punt and the Mustang offense went back to work as they drove 58 yards in eight plays and scored on a 27-yard run by Hutcherson with 5:40 left in the game. The two-point conversion failed and the Mustangs led 27-7.
The final points of the night came after a Eubanks punt went out of bounds at the Panther five and on first down Ethan Quinn completed a pass to the seven to Michael Nolan who was stripped of the ball and Pelonero recovered the loose football in the end zone for a touchdown. Cole Chafin knocked through the extra point and the Mustangs would earn a 33-7 win.
For the game Eubanks led the Mustangs with 123 yards rushing on 18 carries and completed 1 of 3 passes for 38 yards. Hutcherson ran for 96 yards in seven carries as the Mustangs rushed for 252 yards in the game. The Mustang defense held Riverside to 156 yards on the ground and 120 through the air.
The Mustangs host Houston County this Friday at Paul Ward Stadium for homecoming and a Region 7 2-A matchup at 7:00 p.m.