McDonald County seniors put together a second half comeback to remember on Senior Night, but ultimately the Nevada Tigers were too much to overcome in prevailing 43-34 on Friday.
After three unanswered touchdowns by the Mustangs in the second half gave them a chance, the Tigers put it away with a late score to thwart the rally.
The Mustangs’ final touchdown and ensuing two-point conversion run, both scored by Travis Meador, pulled the Mustangs within 35-34 in the waning minutes of the game. The Tigers, however, would respond when Dalton Hendren broke free on a 30 yard run to the end zone with 40 seconds left. Hendren chipped in the conversion run to ice the victory.
Hendren’s run, which was the only points the Tigers scored in the second half, spoiled what nearly turned into a huge upset for the Mustangs. They trailed the Tigers (6-2) 35-12 at the half, before shutting them down for the next 23:20.
“The first half we didn’t play real well,” Mustangs coach Chris Gwartney said. “We didn’t play bad, but we made some adjustments at the half and put together probably our best second half in a long time.
“We probably played our best half of the year. We really dominated. The kids responded well.”
The Mustangs (2-6) jumped ahead early when Jake Wood ran in from 10 yards out to make it 6-0 in the first quarter. Three unanswered Tigers touchdowns later and the Mustangs trailed 19-6 before Jantsen Lynn scored from four yards out to make it 19-12.
Nevada would score on a pair of runs by Lucas Denman and Hendren just before half to stretch its lead.
“Nevada was very big and very physical,” Gwartney said. “We stayed in there and fought it out and played hard. It was a tough game and I’m really happy with the way (our) kids performed, especially in that second half.”
The Mustangs had a total of 394 yards (255 rushing, 139 passing). Lynn carried the ball 24 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Travis Meadors had seven carries for 37 yards.
Jake Wood completed seven passes for 139 yards and rushed for 52 more. Receiver Zack Peck caught six passes for 129 yards.
The Mustangs travel to Springfield Catholic next Friday.