Mantachie Mustangs run wild over Tigers

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Itawamba County Times

ETHEL – During the 1991 playoffs, Mantachie snagged the biggest victory in program history when it defeated Ethel for the right to play in the 1A North title game. Friday, some 22 years later, history repeated itself as the now 2A Mustangs defeated the Tigers 42-12 to kick off the 2013 season.

Senior quarterback Dustin Carrell guided a potent Mustang passing attack as he connected on 8-of-12 of his passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

“We were able to run the ball really well which opened some passing lanes up,” Carrell said. “The offensive line was phenomenal. They blocked their tails off tonight.”

Mantachie (1-0) got on the board first when Carrell connected with Nick Burns for a 40-yard strike with 7:15 left in the first quarter.

Ethel (0-1) wasted no time in responding, however, as quarterback Markei Johnson, who comprised the bulk of the Tigers’ offense with 162 rushing yards and two touchdowns, scampered 67 yards on the first play of a series to bring the score to within one after a missed PAT.

The quick-strike tit-for-tat game continued as Carrell connected on another big pass, this time a 26-yard connection to Clay Johnson down to the Ethel 9, before Ryno Hardin burst into the end zone on the next play.

Leading 14-6 with 5:57 remaining in the first, the Mustang defense stiffened, and Mantachie took over at the Ethel 25 after the punter mishandled the snap on a fourth-and-10 play. Five plays later Johnson hit pay dirt as he made his way in for a TD from 7 yards out.

The Mustangs punched it in twice more in the half, a Logan Pettigo 2-yard run and a Carrell to Austin Byrd 14-yard connection, to end the half with a lopsided 35-6 lead.

“I thought we played really well, especially early in the first half,” Mantachie coach Lynn Moore said. “We were really efficient offensively and the defense was running all over the field.”

The Mustangs scored once in the second half, an Alston Dill 2-yard run, while Johnson notched a TD for the Tigers with a 91-yard jaunt.