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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Mustangs let one slip away

  • The Mustangs were ever so close to pulling off a victory that would have stood as the highlight of their comeback season. After beginning the year 0-5, the Mustangs closed the regular season by winning three of their last four contests — including a close loss against Nevada. On Thursday, they were as good as they’d been during their winning streak.
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  • After a season’s worth of fighting back, the McDonald County Mustangs ran out of steam late on Thursday and watched as Republic came from behind to end their season 27-19 at the Class 5, District 4 playoffs.
    The Mustangs were ever so close to pulling off a victory that would have stood as the highlight of their comeback season. After beginning the year 0-5, the Mustangs closed the regular season by winning three of their last four contests — including a close loss against Nevada. On Thursday, they were as good as they’d been during their winning streak.
    McDonald County led 19-14 in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers scored a touchdown to take a 20-19 lead. The Mustangs would later move into field goal range, but the kick failed. The Tigers would then take control and march down the field to score a touchdown with 50 seconds left to secure the victory.
    “It’s really disappointing for our players, especially our seniors,” Mustangs coach Chris Gwartney said regarding the loss. “We fought, but we just weren’t able to come away with a win. We played very physical. I’m extremely proud of the way the guys played.”
    While the loss made for a bitter ending, the way the Mustangs closed out their season, when some wrote them off weeks ago, left no doubts about the character on Gwartney’s sidelines.
    “These kids have a lot of heart and a lot of character,” he said. “No matter what, no matter how things were going, these kids never gave up and fought it to the very end. I just can’t say enough about the way these kids worked and the way they played.
    “This tells a lot about our seniors. Being 0-5 to start their senior year, it would have been easy to take it a different route (and give up), but they kept plugging away and turned their season around. I couldn’t be happier for the way that they worked through it.”  
    The Mustangs didn’t struggle to move the ball. They rushed for 315 yards as a team, including 228 yards on 32 carries by senior tailback Jantsen Lynn. Senior Travis Meador rushed for 81 on 12 carries. Jake Wood completed eight passes for 74 yards including 49 to receiver Zack Peck.
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