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HUNTINGDON (September 27) —- The Huntingdon Mustangs improved their record Friday night eking out a win over longtime rival Milan Bulldogs, 40-39. In what was touted as Huntingdon’s first …
HUNTINGDON (September 27) —- The Huntingdon Mustangs improved their record Friday night eking out a win over longtime rival Milan Bulldogs, 40-39. In what was touted as Huntingdon’s first real test of the season both crowds were held in suspense until the final few seconds of play.
Although plagued with turnovers, the Mustangs were able to hold strong thanks to an impressive accumulation of running plays from Brandon Lawton; with 17 carries for 290 yards and four touchdowns. Lawton’s longest touchdown was 74 yards.
Hunter Ensley carried the ball 12 times for 70 yards and one touchdown. In passing, he was four for eight with 120 yards and a 51-yard touchdown snagged by Austin Baker. Cole Edwards was four of six on extra-points, but booming punts and kickoffs helped with Huntingdon’s field position.
The Huntingdon defense had key stops with 10 sacks on the night by a host of Mustangs: Konnor Pearson (1); Bo Mclemore (4); Devin Mcclerkin (2); and Sebastian Kee (3). McLemore had five tackles for a loss and Ensley picked off a Bulldog pass towards the end of the game.
Huntingdon received the opening kick and looked to take the opening lead but was forced to punt after a quick three-and-out. The ensuing Milan drive stalled after picking up a first down, but a holding penalty and an incomplete pass brought on the punt team.
The Mustangs had déjà vu on the next series with another three-and-out.
At the 3:33 mark of the first quarter, the Bulldogs drew first blood with a questionable touchdown. Davante Herron who looked down after short yardage (no whistle was blown) stayed on his feet for an 80-yard TD. McLemore blocked the extra-point. The missed PAT would loom ominously for Milan the rest of the night.
Huntingdon responded with a touchdown of its own with three minutes to play in the first quarter. On second-and-ten, Lawton broke free off the left end and crossed the goal line from 63 yards out. The Edwards PAT was good giving the Mustangs a 7-6 lead.
The first quarter came to an end with a back-and-forth battle between the two foes.
Two plays into the second quarter, Huntingdon was back on the scoreboard with Ensley leaping into the endzone from three yards out. The lead increased 14-6 with the PAT with 11:43 to play in the opening half.
On Huntingdon’s next drive, Lawton fumbled the ball at mid-field. Milan recovered; Herron connected with Kameron Tharpe from 31 yards out. Sullivan Burke’s PAT narrowed the Mustang lead 14-13 with just under nine minutes left in the second quarter.
Not happy with the small margin, Huntingdon went on the attack. On the third play from the line of scrimmage, Lawton was in the end zone for his second touchdown. A wide PAT put Huntingdon up seven points, 20-13.
Milan went three-and-out on the next series but remained on offense with a muffed punt by the Mustangs. The time consuming drive proved fruitless for the Bulldogs as they were forced to punt.
The Mustangs went three-and-out on the next series.
Milan took over from their own 35 yard line. Set in a spread formation with five receivers, Herron in the run-pass option called his own number busting up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown. Burke suffered his second blocked PAT of the night. With less than three minutes to play in the half, Milan trailed 20-19.
In a stroke of trickery, the Bulldogs caught the Mustangs off guard with an onside kick. Taking over at mid-field, two passes from Herron to Anferney Lambert put Milan in the lead following the extra-point. The Bulldog closed the first half with a 26-20 lead over the Mustangs.
The third quarter opened with another Milan touchdown at the 11:41 mark. Lambert scored on the ground from 57 yards out. A successful PAT put the Bulldogs up 33-20.
Down but not out, Huntingdon responded with Lawton finding pay-dirt on first-and-ten from the Mustang 25 yard line. The extra-point was no good as Milan held the advantage 33-26 with 10:47 left in the third quarter.
The Mustangs tied things up with 6:43 left in the third quarter. On first-and-ten from the Huntingdon 43 yard line, Lawton broke free for a 57-yard touchdown run. Edwards’ PAT knotted things up 33-33.
As the game moved into the closing quarter, Milan took the lead on a direct snap to Orlandis Williamson. The 65-yard touchdown run put up the Bulldogs 39-33. Once again a blocked extra-point aided the Mustangs.
Time ticked away on the clock, as Huntingdon found itself third-and-long. From 51 yards out, Ensley passed to a wide open Austin Baker to tie the game at 39-39. Edwards gave the Mustangs the one point advantage 40-39 with less than five minutes to play.
Milan worked the ball to near mid-field in the final minutes of the game. With their backs against the wall, Herron heaved a passed on third-and-long praying for a first down. A blue jersey came down with the ball. The intercepted pass by Ensley put the game away for Huntingdon.
With less than a minute to play, the Mustangs came out in victory formation and took a knee. Huntingdon improved to 6-0 as Milan falls to 3-3 for the season. Next Friday night, the Mustangs travel to Collinwood to battle the 3-3 Trojans. Game time is 7 p.m.