Defense propels Mustangs past Comets

Defense propels Mustangs past Comets

Countdown to Prom

by Gunnar Davis

Coming into the Oct. 23 game in Monroe, both the North Polk Comets and PCM Mustangs football teams knew what was at stake. They were playing for the two-seed in the district and a chance at a home playoff game. Both teams were fired up, but in the end, the Mustangs prevailed, winning 35-18.
The Mustang offense came out a little flat and didn’t score on either of their first two possessions, but the defense didn’t allow the pass-happy Comets on their first two drives to score, either, holding them to a punt and a junior Sheldon Speers interception.
The Mustangs got on the board first, scoring off a junior Clayton Welch four-yard run on their third possession. That was the only time PCM saw the end zone in the first half though, and North Polk added two scores, making the score going into halftime 12-7.
“The first thing we really did was we went inside and tried to find a formation to see exactly how they were aligned and what we were doing when they burned us for a touchdown,” Head Coach Greg Bonnett said. “Aside from that, we just talked about how we needed to disguise coverages better and bait them into throwing things.”
In the second half, the Comets opened up with the ball, but it was taken away by senior Tyler Dredge when he intercepted the pass thrown by North Polk senior Max Karpinske. PCM wasted no time, using six plays to drive down the field and capitalize off the turnover with another Welch touchdown run.
Again, the defense held North Polk to a punt, but this time Karpinske picked off senior Logan Gilman. The turnover was wasted, because Karpinske then threw an interception of his own to senior Logan Littrell. Littrell capitalized off his own play, using the very next one to run 16 yards for a touchdown. A missed extra point made the score 20-12.
On the next possession for North Polk, the Mustangs picked off Karpinske for the fourth time. This time it was senior Reid Jenkins. But the offense was forced to punt, giving the ball back to the Comets. North Polk finally scored off a 35-yard pass from Karpinske to senior Luke Leopold. They had a chance to tie it up on a two-point conversion, but the Mustang defense held, and the attempt was failed.
That was the last time the Comets scored, and PCM scored two more times, once from a 76-yard catch and run by junior Luke Greiner, and once more on a 19-yard pass from Gilman to junior Noah Clark.
Gilman led the way offensively, completing 14 out of his 25 pass attempts for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Littrell led all rushers with 18 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown. Both Clark and Greiner each had six catches for over 100 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Littrell led the way with five solo tackles, three assisted tackles, three tackles behind the line of scrimmage and one interception. Seniors Nathen Trausch and Davis Herndon each had five solo tackles. Jenkins had six total tackles and an interception.
The Mustangs’ next game was a home playoff game against Mid-Prairie on Oct. 25. The Hawks are 7-2 overall and 4-2 in district play.
“The first thing we have to do as players is make sure we catch up on any lost sleep that took place over the weekend,” Bonnett said. “In terms of as a team, really we just have to keep on taking another step each day and continue to get better and right now I think we’re playing football pretty well.”