At times, the Eldon Mustangs looked to be heading to their first victory of the season against Owensville Friday night. Up 24-14 in the third quarter, the Mustangs looked composed and set to take the win. However, miscues and sloppy defensive play led to a heartbreaking final minute touchdown by the Dutchmen, leading to a 36-30 loss for Eldon and moving their record to 0-2.

At times, the Eldon Mustangs looked to be heading to their first victory of the season against Owensville Friday night. Up 24-14 in the third quarter, the Mustangs looked composed and set to take the win. However, miscues and sloppy defensive play led to a heartbreaking final minute touchdown by the Dutchmen, leading to a 36-30 loss for Eldon and moving their record to 0-2.

The Mustangs opened the game on defense, surrendering the games first score to Owensville in the first quarter and backing up against a 8-0 deficit. However, the Mustangs would strike back quickly as Senior Kaden Dillon would get the first of his eventual three rushing touchdowns. Before the end of the quarter, Eldon’s defensive efforts would come up big with a turnover on downs, giving the offense the ball near the 50. The score moving out of the first quarter would sit at 8-8.

Into the second quarter, it would be Owensville who would score first, though failing to converting the two-point conversion. Eldon would get the ball back trailing 14-8. The game turned into a game of back and forth before Dillon would get the hand-off from sophomore quarterback Dallas Hardy for another Mustang touchdown, putting them up 16-14 heading into the locker room for halftime.

The Mustangs opened the second half with a promising 6-minute drive with a constant rushing attack to move the ball. However, the Mustangs would not find any success on this drive and would turn the ball over on downs at the 8-yard line. This would not play a huge factor in the outcome, though, as the defense got the ball back quickly and Dillon would succeed in finding the end zone for a third time, putting Eldon up 24-14. This would be their largest lead of the game.

Dillon had a big night on the ground as he tacked on 199 rushing yards on 34 carries to go with those three touchdowns, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

Just as things looked to be settling in for the Mustangs, the Dutchmen responded back with a 61-yard touchdown play on the first play of their next drive. To make matters worse, Owensville would then succeed in recovering an on-side kick and got the ball back in their hands. Even so, Eldon would lead out of the third quarter 24-22.

The game continued on as a back-and-forth effort between teams until the Dutchmen would break it open with a touchdown with 6:44 left on the clock, putting Eldon behind 30-24. This would not be the final stand for the Mustangs, however, as the team would find some rhythm and punch in a touchdown with just 0:55 left on the clock. The team would fail to convert for 2 points and the game would be tied at 30-30.

Owensville took the seconds left on the clock to their advantage and marched down the field against a tired Eldon defense. Just as it looked like the game would be heading to overtime, Ownesville would punch the ball into the end zone and take a 36-30 lead with just 0:06 on the clock. Eldon would make one last-ditch play with the remaining time, but would fail to make anything happen as Owensville walked away with a 36-30 win.

Hardy completed two of his five pass attempts for 53 yards with one of those passes going to senior receiver Nathaniel Wardenburg on a big 44-yard play. Junior tight end P.J. Bledsoe also caught a pass for nine yards. The young quarterback also rushed for 78 yards on 16 carries and a score. Wardenburg was also productive on the ground as he rushed for 46 yards on 14 attempts.

Meanwhile, Owensville finished the night with 299 rushing yards and another 48 yards through the air and it proved to be just enough.

Eldon coach Chad Hult was understandably disappointed with the outcome of the game, stressing to his team after the game that they need to build from this outcome and respond to the adversity. He felt that the onside kick was the point that the Dutchmen seized the momentum and took the game into their hands. He says that the effort by the team was better than the week prior, but he is still hoping to see more in week 3.

“A game like this can define your season,” Hult said. “We have to respond.”

Eldon will play in Hallsville on September 13, hoping to move to 1-2.