By Julie Felgar
The Mustang football team ended their regular season last Friday with a convincing 48-17 win over the William Monroe Dragons. The team is 8-2 on the season and is seeded number 1 in the region heading into the first playoff game against Armstrong High School this Friday evening at 7 p.m. at Meridian High School.
The Mustangs showed their offensive depth on the field with four different people scoring touchdowns, Evans Rice (2), Josh Stillwagoner (1), Patrick Whitaker (2), Will Ballow (1). “ I thought we played very hard and executed well,” says offensive coordinator, P.J Anderson. “It was awesome that everyone who was called upon stepped up and played their tail off.”
Defensively, the Mustangs started off slowly as they adjusted to the Monroe offensive scheme. The Mustangs allowed Monroe to score twice quickly, one on an interception on a pass intended for Papadopolous and another on an impressive drive by Monroe down the field. However, towards the end of the 2nd quarter the team settled down and focused on the task at hand.
The 3rd quarter began with an 88 yard kick off return by Graham Felgar which put the team up by two touchdowns and they did not look back. Defensive standout performances from George Papadolpolous (14 tackles), Seth Stillwagoner (10 tackles) and Garett Benson (10 tackles) were key in reigning in the Dragons.
The Mustangs are heading into the first playoff game focused. According to Anderson, “Armstrong is pretty big up front and is a good football team, so we are focused on executing our system and being the more physical team.” Unfortunately, the Mustangs will have to do without Senior Josh Stillwagoner (LB, FB) who reinjured his shoulder this game. Felgar is also questionable due to a hamstring strain. With a 32 man roster, the team relies on each and every individual player to step up and do their part.
Patrick Whitaker, a senior and the team’s leading rusher with over 1,000 yards in the regular season, believes it takes patience and hard work, “We have to stay focused, stay fast and work hard to execute so we can concentrate on what we really want to achieve. Ultimately, that is to win, one bite at a time.”
Armstrong (1-7), does not have an exceptional record, but they play in a different district where the competition is challenging. “I am really excited to play a team we haven’t met before.” said senior Graham Felgar, “It is obviously more challenging as you do not have a history with them, but I think we have what it takes to win and continue our run in the playoffs.”
The football team is one of numerous Meridian High School fall sports teams that have had impressive seasons. The Golf Team, regional runners up, sent their first ever athletes to states. The Girl’s and Boy’s Cross Country Teams are both heading to the state meet on November 13th. The Field Hockey Team won districts, placed third in regionals and are in the state playoffs. The Cheer Team has qualified for a national competition to be held in February. In the past eighteen months, Meridian has had 3 different people at the Athletic Director role, yet, the student athletes and their coaches continue to push through and have big seasons. This bodes well for the winter and spring seasons.
This Friday’s football playoff home game will be at 7 p.m. and admission is six dollars at the gate. Get there early to grab some food and support the team.