Mustangs’ Season Ends In Heartbreak

by Olin Meinders

The Mustangs breezed through the majority of their 2017 regular season, but they knew throughout that time period that they will inevitably see tougher competition come playoffs. Having a free week due to a forfeit by Clarke County, head coach Greg Bonnett chose to use the week to prepare for Williamsburg, who finished their season 7-2 and spent several weeks as the first ranked team in 2A. When the playoff brackets were announced, PCM was ready to take on the Raiders in the first round. The Mustangs started the game very strong, but were unable to keep their lead in the second half. Ultimately PCM came up one point short, and ended their season on Oct. 27 with a 18-17 loss at home.

The Mustangs’ defense started the game by shutting out Williamsburg senior and 2A rushing leader Gage Hazen-Fabor. The Mustang offense also started the game on the right foot, scoring on their first possession by a 15-yard touchdown pass from junior Reed Worth to junior Isaac Telfer. After a Williamsburg turnover on downs, PCM returned to the endzone on their second possession when Worth found junior Preston Van Wyk open for a 18-yard touchdown pass. At the end of the first quarter, the Mustangs were on top 14-0. Early in the second quarter Williamsburg was able to put their first points on the board with a short touchdown pass. After the score, senior Jacob Ponder broke through the line to block the extra point kick and keep the score at 14-6. After multiple defensive stands, the final points in the second half were scored when senior Brady Fagen kicked a 20-yard field goal to extend the Mustangs’ lead to 11 before going into halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, all the Mustangs needed to do was hold onto their lead. Williamsburg scored on a touchdown pass very early in the fourth quarter to make the score 17-12. PCM got the ball back but was unable to do anything offensively. One play after the Mustangs were forced to punt, Hazen-Fabor broke free to give the Raiders a one point lead. The Mustangs needed to at least get close to the end zone in order to retake their lead. PCM was able to make it to the seven yard line with less but was unable to get into the endzone.Fagen ran out to attempt the 17-yard field goal to take back the lead. The kick into the wind went wide left and kept the score at 18-17. With four minutes remaining, the Raiders were able to run out the clock and maintain the comeback.

PCM finished their 2017 season with an 8-2 record and as district champions for the second consecutive year.

On a more personal level, I want to take a moment to look back on this season from the perspective of a player, rather than a reporter. This team may not have looked like anything more special than other teams in recent years, but to me and everyone who’s been a part of it, there’s never been anything great. This team really has been more of a family than anything else, and that’s what makes it so great. I’ve played sports my whole life and have never been on a team that even comes close to being as tightly knit as this one. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the moments we as a team have shared. We’re all brothers, and I can guarantee that not a single player would say that they’d rather play anywhere else. I’m going to miss playing with every single one of the seniors, and I’m sure you, the fans, will miss watching those guys. The 2017 season may have ended sooner that what we hoped it would, but that means that preparation for the 2018 season just starts a little bit earlier.