Football Friday nights aren’t the same in Mantachie. And that is a good thing.
The Mustangs’ culture is starting to change, from a team that went from 2008 to 2011 without ever winning more than three games, to a team off to a 4-1 start this season.
It has been more than a decade without a winning season, but these Mustangs are an overtime at South Pontotoc away from 5-0.
Second-year coach Lynn Moore said the community no doubt has a new embrace on the program.
“That comes with winning,” he said. “The upgrade in the facilities has had as much to do with it as anything. We now have what everybody else has got and several things better. That hadn’t always been like that here.”
The Mustangs have a good test tonight against Nettleton, against an also-improved Tigers team with a big offense led by senior quarterback Dakota Cruber.
Mantachie senior quarterback Dustin Carrell has thrown for 805 yards. The Mustangs have rushed for 888 from seven ball carriers.
“I think we pride ourselves on the fact that we’re balanced,” Moore said. “Dustin’s thrown 13 touchdown passes. I probably didn’t throw 13 touchdown passes in the five years I was at Itawamba or the six years I was at Aberdeen, total.”
Mantachie went 5-7 last season, in Class 3A before dropping back to 2A for the next two seasons. There are still tests to pass, another big one next week as division play opens at Baldwyn, a team it has lost to by an average of 27.5 points since 2005.
But this isn’t the same Mantachie. The Mustangs are different and so is Moore, a self-professing “old school” veteran coach who has found new ways to find new success.
“We’ve thrown the ball more in the two years I’ve been here then probably anywhere I’ve been,” Moore said. “Well, no probably about it.”