By Clint Andersen
The Gordon-Rushville Mustang football team earned their first win of the season on Friday night as they defeated the Valentine Badgers 13-10. It was a rough night offensively for both teams, but the Mustangs used an opportunistic defense and timely offense to come away with their first win.
The Mustangs scored first after a Lex Haller interception gave them the ball at the Valentine 14 yard line. Six plays later on third and goal from the 5, Tristan Tuma slipped across the goal line for a 7-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, the Mustang defense held the Badgers on 4th and 3 from the Mustang 18. The offense took over, but a Mustang fumble set the Badgers up at the 8 yard line. The defense again dug in and held the Badgers to a field goal, making the score 7-3 with 7:56 remaining in the second quarter.
Valentine received the second half kickoff, but was forced to punt and the Mustangs started their first drive of the second half at their own 25. Tristan Tuma raced for 24 yards on a quarterback keeper on first down to set the Mustangs up at mid-field. Two plays later, Tuma took a low snap, but kept his cool, and fired downfield to Lex Haller who romped 46 yards to pay dirt. The extra point was blocked leaving the Mustang lead at 13-3 with 8:36 left in the third quarter.
Late in the third quarter, the Badgers took over on the Mustang 32. After gaining a first down at the 19, the Badger offense fizzled as they failed to convert on 4th and 5 from the 14. The Mustang defense held and gave the ball back to the offense with a 10 point lead to start the fourth quarter.
Valentine’s next possession started at their own 46. The four play drive culminated with an 18 yard touchdown pass on 3rd and 14 to make the score 13-10. With 6:46 left in the game, and a three point lead, the Mustang offense needed to shorten the game and run the clock out. They did exactly that as the Mustangs allowed the Badgers just one offensive play in the last 6:46.
Shane Child returned the ensuing kickoff to the Badger 44 and the Mustangs marched to the Valentine 13 before failing to convert on 4th down. The Badgers fumbled the ball on first down and the Mustangs recovered on the 9 with 1:42 left in the game. Gordon-Rushville successfully ran out the clock to end the game with the final score 13-10.
The Mustangs improved their record to 1-2 and will take on the 0-2 Bayard Tigers this Friday at 7 p.m. in Gordon. This week is homecoming for the Mustangs, so there will be lots of halftime activities. Tune in to the Journal Star’s webcast coverage of the contest at www.sheridancountyjournalstar.net.