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McKenzie played host to rival Huntingdon to open the 2018 season last Friday. Early on it appeared it would be a shootout but with a series of offensive big plays the Mustangs turned it into a lopsided 49-19 loss for the Rebels.
The Mustangs won the toss and deferred to the second half so the Rebels got the ball first and were able to get the ball moving but stalled and punted away their first possession. Both teams swapped possessions for much of the opening quarter until Huntingdon struck first on a short drive following a punt. Brandon Lawton got loose on a 50-yard dash into McKenzie territory on a first down play. Daquon Robinson took it 40 yards for the game’s first score with 2:31 left in the first quarter. The PAT was good by Cole Edwards for a 7-0 Mustang lead.
McKenzie’s defense continued to keep Huntingdon in check into the second quarter and got their first touchdown on a miscue by the Mustangs. Huntingdon had a bad snap on a punt that sailed over the punter’s head. The punter attempted to throw it out of the endzone and it was picked off by Hunter Stafford who took it to the endzone for a Rebel score with 10:45 left in the half. The extra point attempt was blocked leaving the score 7-6 in favor of Huntingdon.
McKenzie penalties helped Huntingdon’s next possession which was capped by a 12-yard touchdown by Huntingdon quarterback Hunter Ensley with 7:33 left in the first half. Cole Edward’s extra-point was good for a 14-6 Mustang lead. After a three-and-out possession by the Rebels, Huntingdon struck again with 4:33 left in the half on a 5-play drive again capped off by a Hunter Ensley touchdown this time from 25 yards out. The PAT was good for a 21-6 lead.
The Rebels answered with a sudden “hook-and ladder” strike on the next possession when quarterback Eli Surber tossed the ball to Joseph Miller who launched a long pass to Tyler Spivey who caught it in stride for a 79-yard touchdown. Diego Calderon connected on the extra point making it a 21-13 contest with 4:13 left in the first half.
Huntingdon struck twice in the final four minutes of the half with big play touchdowns. The first came shortly after McKenzie’s second score when Daquon Robinson swept around the left side for a 65-yard score with 3:59 left. Edwards was good on his fourth extra point for a 28-13 lead. McKenzie went three plays and out on their next possession. On first down, Brandon Lawton got loose for a 64-yard touchdown with the extra point good for a 35-13 lead with 1:15 left in the opening half.
The Mustang’s Robinson ran the second-half kickoff back 83 yards for a touchdown but it was wiped out by a penalty. Hunter Ensley scored three plays later on a 50-yard run. Extra point was good for a 42-13 lead with 9:41 left in the third quarter. Daquon Robinson added the final score of the night for Huntingdon with 6:18 left on a 66-yard run. Cole Edwards was good on the extra point for a 49-13 lead.
Both teams got younger players into the contest for valuable playing time as the game wound down. One of the younger Rebel players, Nick Bills, scored a late touchdown with 11 seconds remaining in the contest to make the final score 49-19.
Huntingdon had three players with over 100 yards each rushing. Hunter Ensley had 104 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries. Daquon Robinson had three carries for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Brandon Lawton rushed for 133 yards and a score for the Mustangs.
McKenzie had a slow night offensively. Joseph Miller ran the ball 15 times for 51 yards to lead the Rebel effort. They had 180 yards total offense for the contest.
Coach Wade Comer was pleased with the team’s effort all four quarters and their attitude especially after the game was over. “I was proud of our effort and attitude. We need to clean up our tackling otherwise I was happy with our defensive play and we need to get more consistent offensively,” said Comer.
Huntingdon Coach Eric Swenson was complimentary of the Rebels. “They had a good game plan defensively. I told Coach Comer they out-schemed us and gave us some things to work on.” Swenson said.
This week the Rebels play host to West Carroll while Huntingdon will play host to Waverly, one of the top teams in the state.