By Clint Andersen
The Gordon-Rushville football team gave a tremendous effort in their homecoming game against the Chadron Cardinals on Friday night in Gordon. The Mustangs had the lead at halftime, but couldn’t keep up with the Cardinals in the second half and fell by a 34-7 score.
The Mustangs took the opening kickoff and at their own 17 yard line and marched 80 yards to the Cardinal 3 yard line. On 4th and goal, Tristan Tuma rolled right and found the endzone just inside the pylon to give the Mustangs the lead 7-0. The 83 yard scoring drive took up nearly half of the first quarter and was entirely on the ground.
The Cardinals answered right back with good field position on the kickoff that set them up at midfield. Less than two minutes later, Chadron had found the endzone, but the PAT failed and the score remained at 7-6 in favor of the Mustangs.
The following possession saw the Mustangs move the ball to the 34 yard line of the Cardinals, but they couldn’t convert a 4th and 1 and turned the ball over on downs.
The Cardinals lost 15 yards before punting on their next drive. Following the punt, the Mustang offense moved from midfield to the Chadron 14 before being intercepted in the endzone for a touchback on 4th down. After taking over at the 20, Chadron again went backwards. With the ball at their own 12 and facing 3rd and 18, an errant pass was intercepted by Kyle Anderson at the Chadron 31.
The Mustangs tried to turn the interception into quick points by throwing the ball deep on first down, but the pass was intercepted by Chadron and returned to the Cardinal 42. Chadron drove to the Mustang 23 when Kyle Anderson picked off his second pass of the evening, then returned it to the Mustang 29. With 1:10 left in the half, Gordon-Rushville couldn’t get anything going and the half ended with the score 7-6.
The Mustangs outplayed the Cardinals in the first half, holding a six minute advantage in time of possession and outgaining Chadron 165 yards to 62.
In the second half, Chadron’s offense began to assert itself and eliminated the mistakes that had slowed them down in the first half. The Cardinals took the second half kickoff, then went 65 yards in 2:40 to take a 14-7 lead after a successful two-point conversion.
The Mustangs offense picked up where they left off and ground out 25 yards before punting from their 49 yard line. The Cardinal offense wasted no time putting more points on the board and two minutes later, the score was 21-7.
With a 14 point lead, the Cardinal defense began to flex its muscle and held the Mustangs to 23 yards on its next three possessions which ended in a punt, interception, and a failed fourth down conversion.
The Chadron offense added two more quick touchdown drives, but missed another extra point for a final score of 34-7.
The Mustangs left everything they had on the field and put a scare into the Cardinals. The final numbers tell the story of the night. The Mustangs held the edge in time of possession 25:18 to 21:42, but the efficiency of the Cardinal offense won out as the Cards outgained the Mustangs 351-269.
With the win, the Mustangs’ record is now 2-3 while the Cards are 3-2. Chadron’s two losses were to class B schools Alliance and Gering by a combined 10 points. The Mustangs will be in action again this Friday against the 1-3 Bridgeport Bulldogs in Gordon.
By Clint Andersen