By Jordan Huether
The Mustangs football team traveled to Bridgeport Friday looking to keep the momentum from a big home win vs Kimball the week before. They did that and more with a decisive 40-8 victory over the hometown Bulldogs. After opening the season with a tough 51-6 loss to Valentine, the Mustangs have rebounded to outscore their opponents 93-27 in their past two games.
Despite both teams getting 48 plays in from scrimmage, the Mustangs were able to pick up 18 first downs to the Bulldogs’ 5. Senior Korby Campbell was dominant on both sides of the ball, picking up 145 yards on the ground on 16 carries with two rushing touchdowns to average over 9 yards per touch, and also returned a kickoff 81 yards for a score. Campbell finished the day with 11 tackles – 6 for a loss – and 4 of the team’s 7 sacks. Junior Jarret Pieper added 5 carries for 35 yards and one touchdown to average 7 yards per carry.
Junior quarterback Carson Hinn connected with Jarrod Nelson three times for 66 yards and one touchdown, and Trace Beguin and Morgan Hurlburt once each to finish the day 5 of 13 passing with 89 yards and a touchdown. Hinn also picked up 21 yards and a touchdown on the ground over 7 carries.
The game got off to a slow start, with neither team able to put points on the board in the first quarter. The Mustangs started the game with great field position after a botched kick by Bridgeport, but were unable to capitalize, turning the ball over on Hinn’s only interception of the game on the third play of the drive. Bridgeport started their day offensively at the Mustangs’ 31-yard-line, but quickly gave the ball back on a third-down fumble.
The Mustangs’ first points of the game came on a one-yard quarterback keeper by Hinn with 3:10 remaining in the first half. The PAT was no good after a low snap lead to a pass attempt which was barely batted away by a Bulldog defender. The Mustangs struck again with time running out in the first half on a run by Korby Campbell after forcing a Bulldog punt. The two point conversion came up just short for a halftime score of 12-0.
The Mustangs wasted no time getting things going in the third quarter. After the defense forced another Bridgeport fumble, Hinn promptly threw a strike to Jarrod Nelson for a 47-yard touchdown with less than two minutes off the clock in the second half. The conversion was no good to give the Mustangs a 18-0 lead.
Gordon-Rushville quickly found themselves back in the red zone, but a fumble by Campbell at the 2 yard line gave possession back to the Bulldogs, who promptly fumbled it back to the Mustangs. Campbell took it all the way to the endzone this time to give the Mustangs 24. The 2-point-conversion, an option to Campbell, was successful to put the Mustangs up 26-0.
The Bulldogs were able to march down the field into Mustang territory with time running short in the third quarter. Facing fourth and 14 after an illegal substitution penalty, quarterback Drake Demasters connected with Kaleb Lussetto for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The Bulldogs added two with another successful Demasters pass to put the score at 26-8 with 3:23 left in the third.
Not to be outdone, Korby Campbell ran the ensuing kickoff back 81 yards for a touchdown, breaking and evading tackles all the way. Another low snap on the PAT left Hinn scrambling to find an open receiver, eventually throwing it away to put the score at 32-8.
The Mustangs’ final score of the game would come on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jarret Pieper in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. Hinn again found himself scrambling after a low snap on the PAT, this time finding Tommy Bragg in the corner of the endzone for a final score of 40-8.
The Mustangs return home this Friday, Sept. 15 to host the Bennett County Warriors of Martin, S.D. for Homecoming. The game starts at 6 p.m., with the queen coronation during halftime. If you can’t make it to the game, watch live at youtube.com/scjournalstar