It was a dark, cloudy evening outside Meridian High School on Friday, but that didn’t seem to matter to the hundreds of Mustang supporters as the school’s new football season got underway with a highly anticipated matchup against the visiting Highlanders from nearby McLean. Festivities included a bouncy house, food truck, and a Hawaiian theme, with plenty of guests decked out in colorful shirts. The home crowd was fired up for what’s ben touted as an improved Mustang squad this season, and as the game kicked off at just past 7:00, the bleachers were packed to the brim.
Unfortunately, it was the Highlanders who got off to the fast start on the field, scoring a touchdown on their opening drive and then blocking a Meridian punt following a Mustang three-and-out, which immediately led to a second touchdown. Then the threatening skies decided to open up, causing a 90-minute delay due to thunder and lightning late in the first quarter, but the break was a welcome one for the home team as the Mustangs had their best drive of the night immediately following it, highlighted by a long Omar Dabbourah run as they marched deep into McLean territory. They were unable to score, though, and then a quick Highlander touchdown would be the final score of the first half as the visitors led 20-0 into the break (they attempted a two-point conversion on their first touchdown, and the attempt failed).
The Mustangs got the ball first after the intermission, and once again put together a lengthy drive that once again stalled out without putting points on the board, and once again McLean responded with a touchdown, this one putting any slim hopes of a comeback out the window. The Highlanders ended up cruising to a 44-0 victory in what became an even wetter night with another rain shower in the fourth quarter, but on the plus side, the boys stuck it out in a game that can perhaps be best described as a character builder.
They’ll have a chance to get back on track next week, as they host Dominion on Thursday night.