Mustangs smash Bucks for 1st win

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Mustangs smash Bucks for 1st win

Post  Kevin on Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:17 pm

Mustangs smash Bucks for 1st win
Written by Ron Howell
Monday, 12 October 2009


Not long after finally getting his first win Friday as Sweetwater’s head football coach Friday with a 41-14 victory over Breckenridge, Craig Slaughter received the obvious question.
After an 0-5 start, how does it feel to win?
Slaughter’s response indicated that a lot of the weight of the world had been lifted. “I think that there’s a 50,000-pound gorilla walking around those steps right now,” he said, laughing.
“You don’t really think about the pressure to win that first one after you are hired. But it’s a dang good feeling, no doubt.”
The good feelings at Mustang Bowl were evident right from the opening kickoff, which Ken Norman returned 44 yards to give Sweetwater a huge adrenaline boost and set up the first touchdown.
By the time the game was over, Sweetwater had more points and touchdowns (6) than it had managed in the five games and 20 quarters that preceded it. The Mus-tangs also racked up a sea-son-high 410 yards against Breckenridge (1-5).
After setting up at the Buckaroos’ 33, B.J. Wal-ker carried four consecutive times and scored from 17 yards out to give the Mus-tangs a 6-0 lead with less than two minutes gone. Breckenridge, though, came right back to score a tying touchdown on a 1-yard run by quarterback Colby Simmons that capped an eight-play drive. Angel Garcia’s extra point put the Buckaroos ahead 7-6 with 6:28 left in the quarter.
But the lead lasted less than a minute of game time.Sweetwater answered right back, thanks to a 62-yard run by Walker that set up a 6-yard TD run by Norman. Norman then made it 14-7 when he threw a two-point pass to Larry Daniel after a faked extra point kick.
Sweetwater missed golden opportunities to score on its next two possessions after getting within field goal range both times. But the Mustangs finally got on the board again before halftime with a 13-play, 63-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes. Sweetwater was able to convert twice on fourth down, including on the touchdown which came when Walker took a pitch and scored from the 1. Cole Rhoades’ extra point kick made it 21-7 at halftime.
“We answered their score and got control of the game,” Slaughter said. “Our defense after that was huge. But the intensity of our team all week has been great.”
Sweetwater then put the game away with two more scores while the defense twice stopped Breckenridge on drives that began inside Mustang territory. The real backbreaker came when quarterback T.J. Jones hit Jason Vause on a 78-yard pass play to make it a 27-7 game midway through the third quarter.
A.J. McCoy recovered a fumble at Breckenridge’s 36 to set up a short drive that led to Norman’s second TD on a 2-yard run.
Norman wound up making the 2-point conversion as well after picking the ball up on a muffed kick and getting to the pylon to open a 35-7 advantage.
David Howard scored for Breckenridge on a 5-yard run to cut the lead to 35-14 with 6:37 remaining in the contest, but Sweetwater — and McCoy — weren’t finished. McCoy intercepted a pass and returned it 41 yards for the final touchdown with 1:29 left.
“We needed this,” said Norman, who was also in on 13 tackles and had one of three Mustang sacks. “Our whole week of practice was good and we were confident we would do well tonight.”
Vause, who caught six passes for 111 yards, echoed that sentiment. “A lot of people had a good feeling about this one,” he said. “It has just been clicking well in practice and we’ve gotten to a higher level.”

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Big Country Notebook

Post  Kevin on Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:53 pm

Big COuntry Notebook

It was odd enough seeing an 0-5 record attached to the Sweetwater Mustangs — a perennial 3A toughie that had been to the playoffs every year for nearly a decade.

But when you threw the name of first-year Sweetwater coach Craig Slaughter into the mix, things began to take a turn for the surreal. Believe it or not, the pairing chalked up its first win of the year on Friday, beating Breckenridge 41-14.

Slaughter, who lifted the Clyde football program out of the doldrums to lead the Bulldogs to the playoffs every year of a three-year stint, had been accustomed to nothing but success.

At Sweetwater, however, he’s been up against two major hurdles — the first of which was in switching a traditional wishbone team to the I-formation. The second came in the form of some off-campus discipline issues that created a major distraction.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever coached with a 50,000-pound gorilla on my back,” Slaughter said. “You could feel the pressure, thinking, ‘Good God, it’s got to happen sooner or later.’

“The gorilla was there again, but the gorilla climbed out of the Mustang bowl on Friday night.”

Even so, patience will still be needed by the Sweetwater faithful as the Mustangs continue to learn the ropes of their new system. But there is reason for optimism.

Sophomore quarterback Taylor Jones was 9-of-14 for 190 yards and a touchdown on Friday, and this kid is only going to get better.

“The players were as fired up as I was,” Slaughter said after the win. “Some of those poor kids felt bad for me. But as a coach, I was feeling bad for them.

“It was fun to finally give a post-game (speech) with a little humor and have a good time with them after a win.”

YES, THE STEERS ARE FOR REAL

If there were any lingering doubts about how good Big Spring really is, the Steers eliminated them on Friday with a landmark 28-14 win at Wolfforth Frenship.

Not only did Big Spring beat one of Texas’ perennial 4A powers on the road, but it came from behind to do so. Keep in mind that this is a place that saw the Steers lose 38-3 and 49-14 in its last two visits respectively. Now they’re erasing a 14-7 halftime deficit with a 21-point second half rally to win?

“For us to go up to Frenship and get a win was huge for us,” Big Spring coach Phillip Ritchey said. “They’ve had our number for a long time, and for us to get behind 14-7, then come out and dominate the second half like we did is a real tribute to our kids.”

A win of this nature would have been unthinkable in the past. In fact, it was far more common to see Big Spring fold against top-flight competition.

“Our kids are just playing really well and playing together,” Ritchey said. “Being a true team in every sense of the word is a key to us.

“We’ve got some good players, but if they don’t like each other and they don’t get along and stand up for each other than you’re going to have trouble. But our kids have bought into the team (concept).”

Togetherness is one thing, but belief is another, and the Steers have managed to develop that ingredient as well.

Of course, when you have four Division I-caliber recruits in quarterback Tyler Tannehill, linebacker Matt Ritchey, running back Monte Anderson and receiver Thaddeus Straughter, belief is a natural by-product.

“The players have a lot of confidence in each other,” Ritchey said. “The whole environment is different.

“We believe that if we play well and we’re focused and do what we’re supposed to do, that we can play with some very good teams. If we don’t turn the ball over, we can beat some very good teams.”


Big COuntry Notebook
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