Eldon, Mo. – For the second year in a row, the Eldon Mustangs have been crowned as the district champions.
The Mustangs have won back-to-back district titles, with a 42-7 win over Osage last season and a 19-14 win over Ava.
Eldon scored in the opening minute on a 59-yard touchdown run by Wyatt Greenwalt and never looked back, as they never once trailed the Bears throughout the entire game.
Five minutes later, Ava strung together 10 rushing plays to work from their own 35 to score and tie the game with a 3-yard run by Kane Thompson.
That would be the closest Ava ever got to leading in the game, however, as the Mustangs answered with just over a minute left in the first half on a 39-yard touchdown run by Dalton Lister, set up by a fumble recovery by Wyatt Bashore.
In the second half, Eldon increased their lead to 19-7 with a 6-yard touchdown run by Raymond Kwok on a four-and-a-half minute long 11-play drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Ava answered a minute later with another touchdown run by Thompson, but from then on, the Mustangs' offense ate up the clock with a 13-play drive to end the game.
Offensively, the Mustangs stayed true to form, rushing 49 times for 218 yards while QB Wyatt Greenwalt threw 6-for-9 passes for 102 yards. Greenwalt led the Mustangs with 77 rushing yards and a TD, followed by Dalton Lister with 76 on 8 carries and 58 yards from Raymond Kwok.
The real story in this game was the dominance of the defense, which stood their ground on 4th down twice against the Bears, and forced two turnovers in the game. Though both teams had comparable times of possession, Eldon proved the more efficient on offense, finishing the night with 320 offensive yards while the defense held Ava to 242 on the night.
Eldon converted all four of their fourth down conversions, and only had one turnover early in the game.
The Mustangs now advance to the state quarterfinals, where they will host Seneca (9-3), a 45-15 winner over Aurora, in Saturday's quarterfinals. Game time is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. at Victor Field.