Eldon, Mo. – After scoring 40+ points in both of their last two matches this season, the Eldon Mustangs were handed their second loss of the season by the California Pintos in the match between the two Tri-County rivals.
"I'm extremely disappointed. I thought some of our upper class-men, specifically our seniors, made some crucial mistakes and kind of put us behind the eight ball," Coach Shannon Jolley said. "California is an outstanding team, and we did not match their intensity and on top of that, we made some mental errors that were uncharacteristic of our seniors."
California's running game proved to be effective against the Eldon defense, as the Pintos galloped past the Mustangs for 224 yards, with four different players finding the end zone in a 38-0 shutout.
For the majority of the night, the Pintos played without their talented starter, Dylan Albertson, but others jumped in, ready to fill his shoes.
California didn't have to wait long to score, as they drove 70 yards on six plays on their first possession to score on a pitch from Jaden Barr to Walker Boghardt from 18 yards out.
Eldon's offense appeared frazzled, with a number of costly miscues and four turnovers on the night coming from the more experienced players, one of which came on Eldon's drive after the first score of the game.
Eldon quarterback Wyatt Greenwalt coughed up the ball as he was sacked on the next drive, as a California defender broke through the ranks of the Mustangs' offensive line, and the Pintos recovered the ball in Eldon territory.
The Eldon defense would make a stand, holding the Pintos from advancing, but the Pintos took advantage of the situation, as California's kicker Aaron Cuevas drilled a 46-yard field goal to put the Pintos up with a 10-0 lead with just under three minutes in the first quarter left on the clock.
The Mustangs' offensive woes continued in the second quarter, as they found themselves unable to move the ball and missed a field goal.
California managed another score with just less than ten minutes left in the half as Seth Fairchild broke off a 46-yard run to score from the left side of the line, breaking through two tackles as he raced across the field to right side of the end zone.
The rest of the second quarter was rather uneventful, until near to the end of the quarter, the Mustangs put together a drive, working their way down the field through the air to threaten the end zone.
California's defense caught a break with an interception and just seconds left on the clock, and the teams headed to the locker room for halftime, with Eldon trailing 17-0.
The second half proved to fare no better for the Mustangs, as the rushing attack of the Pintos scored three more times, twice in the third quarter on a 4 yard run from Jerry Lutz and again on a one yard QB sneak from Jaden Barr. Lutz would revisit the end zone one last time in the fourth quarter to give the game its final score of 38-0 with eight minutes left in the game on an accelerated clock.
Page 2 of 2 - Fairchild ran the ball 12 times for 106 yards to lead the Pintos, while Borghardt had eight carries for 49 yards. Lutz rushed six times for 39 yards and two touchdowns, while QB Barr was 8-of-11 passing for 109 yards and a rushing touchdown.
On the Mustangs' side of the ball, Eldon rushed for 130 yards on 33 carries, with QB Greenwalt and senior Zack Lemen both rushing for 42 yards each. Greenwalt finished the game with 7-for-16 completions for 125 yards and two interceptions.
One thing Coach Shannon Jolley noted was the roles some of the younger guys played in the game.
"We had two sophomore inside linebackers, Chris Lemen and Garrett Scrivner, who played a great game," Coach Jolley said. "I thought we played hard, and there was a few opportunities we had. We were 8-5 last season, and we had to lose five games last season to get to where we were playing at the level we needed to be. It's early in the season, and I still think we're capable of playing a lot better football than we did tonight, but I have faith in our kids that they'll work hard to bounce back next week."
California returns home next Friday for their home opener with an undefeated 3-0 record, while the Mustangs are now 1-2 on the season, and prepare for their fourth game at home next Friday against the 3-0 Warsaw Wildcats.