Shootout in Eldon -- Mustangs prevail 54-48

Tom Collins
Osage defender #24 Jackson Funderburk stops Eldon's Krystopher Shepard.

For the 69th time since the Tri-County Conference was formed in 1959, the Eldon Mustangs and Osage Indians met on the gridiron.

Osage coach Shannon Jolley returned to Eldon’s Victor Field, Friday, Sept. 10, bringing a 2-0 team with him.

Despite an outstanding offensive performance from his corps of backs, the Indians came up just short, dropping a 54-48 thriller in overtime.

Early on, the Indians looked like they would run away with things. Following an Eldon punt, the Indians scored on their first offensive play as junior running back Derek Bradley scampered 43 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Zac Green’s PAT made it 7-0  before the seats really got warm.

Another Eldon punt resulted in another Osage scoring drive, this one covered a bit more turf (75 yards) and took nine plays before quarter back Brockton McLaughlin scampered 16 yards. Green’s extra point gave Osage a 14-0 lead.

However, the Mustangs got off the deck, scoring the next two touchdowns, taking advantage of a bad snap on an Osage punt attempt. Eldon’s Bryce Veach scored on runs of 29 and nine yards, respectively, to knot things 14-14 early in the second quarter.

Osage countered quickly as Bradley returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to the Eldon 3-yard line. Jackson Funderburk took it in form there. The extra point was missed, giving Osage a 20-14 lead.

Veach’s third touchdown run of the game gave Eldon a 21-20 lead with 8:03 left in the half. 

Bradley scooted four yards for his second score of  the game moments later, making the score 26-21 after the two-point conversion was stopped short.

Eldon took the lead again in the closing moments of the first half on a pass from Hunter Hees to Baylor Pearson. The extra point kick failed and Eldon led 27-26 at halftime.

The second half started just like the first half. Osage scored on its first two possessions. Eric Hood ran 41 yards for a score on the first possess. Bradley ran for the 2-point conversion at Osage’s lead was 34-27.

Funderburk then rambled 18 yards for a touchdown after an Eldon punt and for the second time of the game, Osage held a 14-point lead, 41-27.

Veach ran 67 yards for a touchdown on Eldon’s first play after the ensuing kickoff to cut the lead to 41-34. 

An Osage fumble led to yet another Veach touchdown, this one on a 19-yard pass from Hees and once again, the game was tied 41-41.

McLaughlin’s second touchdown of the game with 9:53 left in regulation gave Osage a 48-41 lead. But, a Dallas Hardy 14-yard run with 4:39 left knotted things up again, 48-48.

Then, the game got exciting.

Osage punted on its next possession, but the Indians forced an Eldon punt and the Indians got the ball back at the Mustang 47 with 18 seconds left.

McLaughlin ran 26 yards. A delay of game penalty cost the Indians five yards. McLaughlin then connected with Hunter Graber for 25 yards to the Eldon 1-yard line.

After some confusion, the Indians still had about one second left, but they did not get a snap off and the game went into overtime.

Overtime begins with a coin flip. Whichever team wins the coin flip can decide whether to play offense or defense first, the loser picks which end to play on. The ball is set at the 25-yard line going in. Play resumes with no game clock. If a team can make a first down, it keeps the ball.

Osage picked up one first down on its possession, but two incomplete passes forced a turnover on downs.

Eldon needed just two plays to cover the 25 yards to win the game. Veach raced 12 yards for his sixth touchdown of the game. Eldon took a knee on the conversion attempt.

Funderburk rushed for 116 yards on 20 carries. Braldey finished with 97 yards on 13 carries, Hood ran for 97 yards on 11 carries and McLaughlin rushed for yards and complete three passes for 63 yards. Graber caught all three of the passes.

Osage returns to action next week, hosting California at 7 p.m.