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Chargers Outfight Mustangs 34-27

MOVING FORWARD – Westview’s Taylor Haskins moves forward with the ball as a Huntingdon defender tries to take him down at the knees. Photo by Russell Bush.

By Russell Bush

 The top spot in Region 7-2A was on the line Friday as the Westview Chargers invaded Paul Ward Stadium in Huntingdon. Both teams entered the contest with a 3-0 record in the region, and it was a game that could be considered an instant classic as both teams traded punches before Westview got in the last blow of the game with 42 seconds remaining in the contest.

 Westview twice had 14-point leads in the first half only to see the Mustangs battle back and tie the score at 27-27 with 3:21 left in the game. Westview then mounted a drive that covered 42 yards in six plays. It was the combination of Craig Ross and Quincy Hamilton that provided the final points of the game. The Mustangs had tied the score after trailing 27-14 in the third quarter by going 66 yards in 13 plays after holding the Chargers on downs. The drive lasted 13 plays as the Mustangs relied on their strong running game to put the ball in the end zone on an Ashton Hutcherson one-yard run with 3:21 left. The Chargers blocked the extra point to set up the final drive.

 The Chargers started at their 42, and after a four-yard run by Drew Shanklin, they took to their passing game. Ross completed three passes on the drive for 33 yards and the last 16 went to Hamilton for the score with 42.2 seconds left in the game. Cason Totten tacked on the point after to make the score 34-27. The Mustangs made one more valiant effort as they started at their 39 with 16 seconds left, and with the aid of two penalties, they took a shot at the end zone before Hamilton intercepted a Gray Eubanks pass to end the game.

 Westview got off to a fast start in the game as they took a 14-0 lead on two big plays. The first came on a 90-yard run by Shanklin and a Totten point after to give Westview the lead 7-0 with 11:47 left in the half. Ross then found Omarion Thomas over the middle for an 80-yard scoring play, and the Totten P.A.T. gave the Chargers a 14-0 lead with 7:13 left in the half.

 The Mustangs then answered with their ground game as they moved 59 yards in 12 plays to draw within seven. The touchdown came on a nine-yard run by Hutcherson with 2:20 left in the half. Cole Chafin made the point after and the score stood at 14-7. The Chargers got those points back with 18 seconds left in the half as Hamilton caught a 33-yard pass from Ross. Totten’s kick increased the Chargers’ lead to 21-7 at the half.

 The Mustangs got the ball to start the second half and drove the length of the field to score. The Mustangs started at their own 33 but covered the distance in 11 plays as Hutcherson scored on a one-yard run with 6:45 left in the third. Chafin closed the lead to 21-14 with the point after. Westview answered in three plays as Shanklin scored on a seven-yard run with 5:47 left in the third. The point after was missed and the score stood at 27-14.

 The Mustangs came right back with a 60-yard, 12-play drive to score with 11:48 left in the game. Eubanks scored on a 13-yard run and Chafin cut the margin to 27-21 before the final dramatic moments of the game, during which the Mustangs tied the game on their next drive and Westview won it on their final drive of the game.

 The Mustangs rushed 69 times in the game for 344 yards and completed 3 of 8 passes for 43 yards. The Chargers rushed 19 times for 235 yards and completed 10 of 15 passes for 198 yards. The Mustangs were led by Eubanks who rushed 25 times for 151 yards, while Hutcherson ran 26 times for 115. Shanklin had 252 yards in the game on 15 carries.

 Both teams are now 6-2 overall for the season, but the Chargers take control of the top spot in the region with a 4-0 record while the Mustangs fall to 3-1. The Mustangs still have one region bout against Union City left the last week of the season and Westview concludes their season with a region fight against Houston County. The Chargers have the night off this upcoming Friday and will then travel to Ripley for a non-region contest on Oct. 21.

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