The Mustang offense led by junior quarterback Dawson Brandt, junior fullback Isaiah Parsons and senior running back Isaiah Merida combined for over 600 yards of total offense as Eldon scored 10 total touchdowns.

The Eldon Mustangs earned their ninth win of the season and advanced to the second round of Class 3 District 3 playoffs after hanging 72 points on the visiting Buffalo Bison who finished their season 3-7.

The Mustang offense led by junior quarterback Dawson Brandt, junior fullback Isaiah Parsons and senior running back Isaiah Merida combined for over 600 yards of total offense as Eldon scored 10 total touchdowns.

Brandt finished 5-8 for 152 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, while adding 169 yards on nine carries and a rushing score. Parsons rushed for 219 yards and scored four touchdowns, including his 20th on the season, on 24 bruising carries.

Merida rushed 13 times for 107 yards and added two catches for 66 yards, including one for a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Austin Pipes, senior tight end Cole Walker, and sophomore running back Logan Hall hauled in the other three passing scores. 

In a night of big hits and long runs, the Mustang triple-option attack and capitalizing defense proved too much for the Bison to handle as they surrendered 52 points in the first 24 minutes of play while only countering with 26 of their own. 

A crushing hit on the opening kickoff by the Eldon defense set the tone for game as the Mustangs forced a three and out on the first possession and subsequently marched down the field for the first score of a game, a Brandt quarterback keeper. 

On the next possession, a Buffalo wide receiver caught a pass over the middle and shook a tackle before he was drilled by an Eldon linebacker, forcing a fumble recovered by senior free safety Jordan Metz, who also added several first down carries on offense. 

However, a fumble on the very next play by Brandt was recovered by the Bison defense at the Eldon 12-yard line and returned for a score, cutting the Mustang lead from 8-0 to 8-6. But that was as close as Buffalo would get as the Mustang offense began to roll.

First down runs by Parsons and Brandt took the Mustangs down to the opposing 12-yard line before Parsons punched in his first score of the night giving Eldon a 16-6 lead with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Buffalo, who posed a formidable passing offense led by two quick, tall wide receivers, responded with an 84-yard touchdown strike when a jump ball was bobbled and pulled down by a Bison receiver who then sprinted 60 yards to put the visitors down 16-12. After a failed onside kick attempt, the Eldon offense couldn’t take advance of great starting field position and Merida was stopped short on a fourth down attempt at the 50-yard line.

With the Bison threatening another score, Walker delivered a big shot on a Buffalo wide receiver after he caught a pass in Eldon terrority, forcing another fumble that was recovered by Pipes. After first down carries by Brandt and Merida, Parsons scampered over 60 yards down to the Bison two-yard-line before he scored on the next play giving the Mustangs a 24-12 lead.

Another Bison turnover, this time an interception by senior linebacker Tanner Myers, set the Eldon offense up at the opposing 39-yard-line before Parsons scored another touchdown on the ground with 9:34 remaining in the second quarter. A couple of Mustang penalties on defense set the Buffalo offense up at the home team’s 10-yard-line and they quickly scored on a 10-yard pass and catch.

As the Buffalo defense began to figure out the triple-option running attack, the Mustangs opened up the playbook and let Brandt showcase his arm. The junior responded by hitting Pipes from 15-yards out to put Eldon up 38-18 with under four minutes remaining in the half. 

After forcing a quick punt on the next possession, Brandt took a quarterback keeper from his own 17 to the 46-yard-line before connecting with Hall on a 54-yard touchdown pass. On the verge of a blowout, the Bison offense responded with a 49-yard touchdown pass set up by a wide open receiver whom the Eldon defense lost track of on the opposite side of the field. 

Receiving the ensuing kickoff at their own 29-yard-line and with less than a minute left in the first half, the Mustangs showcased their quick-striking offense by gashing the Bison defense down to the opposing 24-yard-line before Brandt hit Merida on a wheel route for 22-yards and a first down.

With no timeouts remaining, Brandt snapped the ball with three second left to play and handed off to Parsons who broke the goal line with a single second remaining to put the Mustangs up for good.

The Eldon defense stood strong in the second half, only allowing one more touchdown, while adding three more scores of their own, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to Walker who had found himself wide open as well as a 41-yard touchdown pass to Merida who sprinted past the opposing defensive back and hauled in a perfectly timed long ball from Brandt.

Next week, the 9-1 Mustangs will take on the 8-2 Springfield Catholic Fighting Irish, who are coming off a 33-21 win over the School of the Osage, in the second round of the playoffs.