ANDERSON — It seemed like the East Newton Patriots had that 24-game losing streak snapped Friday night against their Big 8 Conference West rival McDonald County.
The Patriots had come so close the first two weeks and they were about to prove the third time’s a charm.
They led McDonald County 16-0 before the Mustangs’ first points, then 22-6 at halftime and even 22-12 in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs, however, scored two touchdowns in the final 3 minutes, 44 seconds and came away with a thrilling 25-22 victory on Homecoming.
Cole Martin hit Levi Malone with a touchdown pass on the final play, and this marked the second time in three weeks that East Newton lost on the game’s final play.
The Patriots built that 22-6 halftime lead thanks to a Ryan Millet 2-yard TD run and subsequent conversion, a 9-yard TD pass from Jeremiah Stewart to Jackson Schriever and another successful conversion, and a 8-yard Stewart to Austin Brewster TD pass late in the first half.
McDonald County won for the first time this season and the Mustangs (1-2) host Hollister (1-2) in Week 4. The Tigers of Hollister pushed Springfield Catholic to a 21-20 score in Week 3. Hollister and McDonald County both earned their respective victories against East Newton.
East Newton, meanwhile, returns to Don Johnston Stadium in Week 4 and the 0-3 Patriots welcome a winless Nevada team. This is the fourth straight week to open the season that one team will come away from East Newton’s game with its first victory, whether it’s the Patriots or the opponents (Hollister, Aurora, McDonald County, Nevada).
Nevada has a 9-game losing streak dating back to last season and the Tigers’ last victory came in the form of a 64-20 final against East Newton.