HUNTINGDON (November 18) — In football, they say it’s hard to beat a team twice in the same season. The Huntingdon Mustangs accomplished that feat defeating Union City 27-20 at Union City on Friday, October 28 and 14-3 Friday night, November 18, at home in the third round of the state playoffs.
Union City won the toss snapping a multi-game streak by Huntingdon winning the toss. The Golden Tornadoes elected to defer to the second half which gave the Mustangs the ball to start the game.
The kickoff was short leaving Huntingdon in good field position at their own 42-yard line. They ground out yardage into Union City territory with Eubanks calling his own number several times. He had the big play on the drive going around the left side for a 28-yard run to the Tornado 9. They smashed their way to a fourth down and a yard to go for a touchdown and were stopped by the Union City defense.
The ball went over on downs with the Tornadoes starting at their own 1 moving the ball on the ground to near midfield. CJ Pelonero sacked the Union City quarterback for a big loss just before the first quarter ended. The two drives by Huntingdon and Union City drained the first quarter clock which ran out with no score.
The Golden Tornadoes opened the second quarter moving into Huntingdon territory reaching the Mustang 33 where Ashton Hutcherson broke up a fourth down pass attempt getting the ball back for the Mustangs. Both teams swapped possessions for the remainder of the second half. Both teams made big defensive plays with Union City picking off a pass and Huntingdon recovering a fumble. But they both went into halftime with no score.
Union City got the ball to start the third quarter and drove nearly the length of the field in 13 plays with the Mustang defense forcing them to settle for a 25-yard field goal with 4:51 left in the quarter. Huntingdon went three plays and punted backing the Golden Tornadoes inside their own 10-yard line. Union City ran several rushing plays before the third quarter clock expired with them leading 3-0.
Two plays into the fourth quarter, Union City had to punt but it was a short one leaving the Mustangs in good field position and took advantage of it. Elijah Flowers capped a short Mustang drive with a 14-yard touchdown with 10:33 left in the game. The extra point was no good with Huntingdon taking a 6-3 lead.
After a short Union City possession, Huntingdon got the ball back with slightly over eight minutes remaining and drained five minutes off the clock on a drive resulting in a 13-yard touchdown with 3:33 left in the game. Gray Eubanks outraced the Tornadoes for a two-point conversion giving Huntingdon a 14-3 lead. The Mustang defense stifled Union City on the ensuing possession forcing them to throw a fourth down pass which went incomplete and turned the ball back over to Huntingdon. After one rushing play, Eubanks took a knee twice to run out the clock on the playoff win and eliminating the Golden Tornadoes 14-3.
The offensive stats weren’t huge but the Mustangs did what needed to be done mostly on the ground with a few mixed in passes. However, the Mustang defense came up huge with four in double figures in tackles. The leader was CJ Pelonero with 16 tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack. Easton Byars recorded 15 tackles while Dante Pearson had 14 tackles and Landon Gordon had 12 tackles and an interception.
Huntingdon advances to the third round of the playoffs and plays host to Riverside whom the Mustangs defeated 33-7 earlier in the season. The Panthers defeated Lewis County 33-26 to advance in the playoffs.