Cruber, defense thwart Mustangs

Football stockBy Zach Adams

Itawamba County Times

MANTACHIE – Nettleton’s coach Mike Scott believes his defense is on another level from last year when the Tigers gave up 45 points per game.

Friday, his team showcased that improvement when they allowed Mantachie to move the chains just once in the first half. The stingy Tigers’ defense gave star quarterback Dakota Cruber plenty of chances to operate and the senior exploded for five total touchdowns, four passing and one rushing, as Nettleton cruised to a 45-14 victory over the Mustangs.

“Our defense has played really well the last three weeks,” Scott said. “The coaches on that side of the ball have turned the defense around from last year. It’s the same kids, they have just bought in and worked hard.”

Nettleton (4-2) struck quickly after a Mustang fumble on the first play from scrimmage gave the Tigers possession on the Mantachie 25-yard line. Cruber scrambled up the middle for the score to put his squad on top just seconds into the contest.

Mantachie (4-2) and QB Dustin Carrell, were unable to ignite a normally potent passing attack. Nettleton forced six consecutive punts in the first half with only a pass interference penalty moving the sticks.

Striking again

Cruber added two more TDs in the first half, both long passes to Jeremy Cook. The first came as the quarterback scambled around with no time left in the first quarter before hooking up with Cook from 52 yards out. The second came midway through the second when the two connected on a 79-yard score.

Laonta Nabors and Javan Curry later added TD runs of 3 and 40 yards respectively as Nettleton took a 32-0 lead into halftime.

Cruber threw two more TDs in the third quarter, both to Jordan Smith from 4 and 16 yards out.

Mantachie finally got on the board late in the third when, after a Brady Parker fumble recovery at the Tiger 16, Logan Pettigo carried it to the one before Carrell called his own number for the score. Daniel Mangels later capped all scoring with a 6-yard run.

“Offensively, we are good in spurts,” Scott said. “We have people who can make plays, but we are going to be as good as our offensive line. They got better tonight and protection got better as the game went on.”

zach.adams@journalinc.com