It was Senior Night at Meridian High School, and the Mustangs’ football squad was fired up coming off their big win a few weeks ago as they hosted the William Monroe Dragons for their regular season finale. They mostly controlled possession through a scoreless first quarter, and found themselves with a prime goal line opportunity as play resumed, which they were unable to convert on four downs but did score a safety to go up 2-0 just as Monroe took over. They fumbled on the next possession and the visitors were able to turn the ensuing drive into a touchdown, followed by a successful two point conversion, but Meridian came back with a score of their own by Alden Harrison with less than a minute to go in the half. A desperate Dragons heave was intercepted by Omar Dabbourah as time expired, and the Mustangs took the 9-8 advantage into the break.
The school’s seniors across all fall athletics were honored with their families at halftime, and the first score of the second half came immediately as Monroe took the kickoff to the house. They were unable to convert the extra two points, leaving Meridian trailing only by five, and they grabbed the lead back with a methodical drive that ended in a touchdown rush on third down at the goal line by Dabbourah. QB Cruz Ruoff then kept the ball on the two point try and gave the Mustangs a 17-14 lead late in the third, a lead they took into the final frame. But the Dragons took it right back a few minutes into the fourth as the lead continued to change hands in this see-saw affair, and after Meridian’s next drive was turned over on downs at around midfield, an immediate Monroe long touchdown run with about five minutes remaining was the back breaker. The Mustangs refused to give up, marching down the field and finding the end zone on a Duke Dawson carry with a minute to go, and then converting the two point try to make it a three point game, but they failed to recover the onside kick, and the visitors ran out the clock as they held onto the 28-25 victory.
The Mustangs’ season comes to a close with a 1-8 record, but the progress shown by the young squad throughout the year is to be admired, and their competitive finish leaves them with an optimistic future to build upon.