By Mike Abler
Last Friday night the 3-1 Meridian Mustangs faced off against the 2-1 Brentsville Tigers, each looking to gain an edge in the standings.
At first, neither team could get deep down the field. Each drive stalled and ended with punts. It was a battle of wills to see who would break and draw first blood.
Meridian’s QB Rice Evans, was uncharacteristically inaccurate throughout the majority of the first half. With 1:26 left in the first half, he broke through with a 51-yard bomb to Senior RB Graham Kelgar for a touchdown. Brentsville was looking to get on the board when they got intercepted allowing Meridian to take a 7-0 advantage heading into halftime.
The Mustangs opened the second half with the ball but were forced to punt. Brentsville QB Caleb Alexander drove his team down the field and scored when the sophomore QB ran for a 19-yard touchdown. The Tigers would miss the extra point attempt allowing Meridian to maintain a very slim lead.
On their ensuing drive, Meridian faced a 3rd and 5 on their own 25-yard line. Evans unleashed a deep throw to Senior RB George Papadopoulos for a 75-yard touchdown pass. This scoring drive would give the Mustangs a 13-6 lead after they missed the extra point.
The Mustangs came in riding a high power offense that looked to continue their early season success. However, Brentsville would respond by scoring 17 unanswered points. Alexander scored on a second rushing touchdown to make it 13-12. The Tigers would fail their 2 point conversion attempt and quickly get the ball back to score another touchdown. This time they were able to convert a 2 point play to give them a 20-13 lead. Late in the fourth quarter, they added a field goal to end their scoring run with a 23-13 lead.
Late in the game with only 51 seconds left on the clock, Meridian faced a fourth and 2 when Rice threw a 31-yard pass to Felgar to get the first down. Rice followed that up with a 20-yard completion then finished off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass. Meridian kicked the extra point cutting the deficit to 23-20. Meridian now faced with needing an onside kick, failed to recover.
Brentsville would run out the clock and rise to 3-2, while the Mustangs saw their two-game winning streak end in a 23-20 defeat and fell to the same record. There were several failed 3rd down conversions and many costly penalties that hurt the Mustangs performance.
Meridian’s next game is this Friday during homecoming week at home against Skyline.