Mustangs suffer first loss

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By Chris Brown

The West Grand football team had recorded 6 easy wins, but last Friday night they met their match with Hayden breaking open a tight first quarter. Two major mistakes from the punt team aided Hayden in getting very short field positions, which they turned into 16 points. After Wyatt Shearer scored on the 2nd play of the game with a 64-yard run it seemed all downhill for the Mustangs.

On their 3rd position and trailing 8-6, offensive machine Wyatt Howell had a knee injury while being tackled by multiple Tigers. He never returned, and at this writing, it seems not to be good news. Wyatt has been unstoppable this season both as a runner and receiver and his absence was a huge blow to the team. 

The Tigers controlled both sides of the lines all night, opening up huge holes in the defense and completely crushing the Mustang offensive line.  Wyatt Shearer had many tough runs but could not break a long one again. He managed 159 yards on 18 carries. The rest had zero yards on 18 attempts. Joe Probst had a breakout game with a TD catch and an 84-yard kickoff return TD. Unfortunately, late in the game, he had a cheap shot helmet-to-helmet hit that resulted in a concussion. That player was flagged but not removed from the game.

The Mustangs had 3 turnovers all resulting in touchdowns. The Tigers put the ball on the turf an amazing 8 times but somehow got each one back. The Mustangs also missed two defensive starters, including leading tackler Evan Crandall who was sick. 

Jackson Steinle led the tacklers with 15 and Dylan Elthrop had 13. Killian Roche, who replaced Howell, had 9 tackles and twice pinned the Tigers inside the 10-yard line with great punts. Wide receiver Kai Edson played the 4th quarter at running back, and Ethan Glave, a defensive guard, had to play linebacker. Still, with all the adversity, the players kept fighting. They averted a running clock, and it would have been easy to just give up. I’m proud of the fight they continued to display. As the saying goes, “without bad luck we wouldn’t have had any at all.”

This week they face league-leading, defending champions, Vail Christian who beat Hayden 36-32 two weeks ago. Much work and adjustments need to be made to meet this challenge. Home kickoff will be at 7 p.m.