The Mustang football team is gearing up for a Class 2A District 7 showdown with Central Lee this Friday night. The Mustangs are 2-1 on the season following a 54-7 loss to Williamsburg last Friday night. The game with Central Lee will be Davis County’s first road test of the season.

Central Lee is 0-3 on the season and will be looking for their first victory on Friday night. They began the season with a 37-31 loss to Pekin before losing to Van Buren by 19 points in week two. The Hawks are 0-1 in district play after a 49-0 loss to Mid-Prairie last week.

The Mustangs are off to a great start in 2020. Davis County is 2-1 overall and 0-1 in district play after last Friday night’s loss to Williamsburg.

Williamsburg is a team no one wants to see on their schedule in 2020. The Raiders made a deep run into the playoffs at the end of the 2019 season and are now 3-0 and ranked second in Class 2A in the state of Iowa.

Last Friday night’s Class 2A District 7 game with Williamsburg was played in less than ideal conditions. The field at Mustang stadium was soft and muddy following a week’s-worth of rain. Fog and intermittent rain during the game affected what both teams were trying to do.

Williamsburg came into the game with a team that had more experience on both sides of the line and that was the difference in the game.

Williamsburg used a strong ground game to get this win. The Raiders gained 316 rushing yards on 38 carries. Ten of those plays went for 10 yards or more.

Davis County held Williamsburg to just 107 yards passing and picked off one Levi Weldon pass. The Mustangs also snatched one of five Williamsburg fumbles on the night.

Williamsburg wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. The Raiders started the game on offense and let running back Riley Holt get them going. Holt squirted through the middle of the line and raced 62-yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.

The Mustangs responded with a short drive that included runs of seven yards and 10 yards from running back Gavin McCall. The Mustangs were forced to punt after three plays but it gave the Mustang defense a brief moment to regroup.

The Raiders took to the air on their second drive gaining 27 yards on their first pass. Weldon gained 15 yards on a broken play but then the Mustang secondary stepped up. Weldon’s next pass was picked off by Davis County shutting down that drive.

The Mustangs struggled to move the ball in the mud on their second drive before the Raiders scored again.

The Mustangs finally put together a sustained drive on the offense’s third trip to the field. Carson Maeder threw a pair of 13-yard passes. Penalties slowed the drive, but a pass interference penalty on the Raiders helped keep it going. The Raiders also jumped off-sides twice helping Davis County move down to the Williamsburg 20-yard line. A fumbled snap was later scooped up by Williamsburg as they scampered the other way for a score and a 20-0 first quarter lead.

Williamsburg kept its offense on the field most of the night as Davis County’s defense battled to keep pace with the Raiders’ speed and quickness.

The Mustangs punted and executed two separate offensive drives that saw just six offensive plays being run. The Mustangs also fumbled a Williamsburg punt reception that led to another score for the Raiders.

The Mustangs avoided being shut out in the first half when Maeder broke free for a 66-yard run up the middle and a touchdown with 51 seconds left in the first quarter. The Mustangs trailed 34-7 at the break.

The Mustangs started the second half with the ball and used a balanced offensive attack to try and move the ball. Davis County gained 11 yards on one running play and a pass. A Williamsburg off-sides penalty helped secure one first down but a bad punt snap gave Williamsburg the ball deep in Davis County territory.

Williamsburg took advantage of bad punt snaps on two consecutive Mustang drives in the third quarter. As a result, the Raiders scored 13 points in less than six minutes and boosted their lead to 47-7 midway through the third quarter.

The Mustangs managed to provide some excitement in the second half when Maeder found Caedyn Glosser for a 74-yard pass down the far sideline. That led to a Mustang touchdown with 3:48 left in the quarter and was the last time Davis County scored. The lead was cut to 47-14 at that point in the game.

Mercy rules forced the game clock to run continuously, so possessions and offensive plays were harder to come by for Davis County. The Mustangs struggled to move the ball in the wet and muddy conditions against a Williamsburg team that was working to shut down the run.

Davis County had the ball four different times in the fourth quarter but ran just 12 offensive plays. They punted the ball four times and could only watch as Williamsburg blocked three of those punt attempts. The Raiders added one more score in the 54-14 win, handing Davis County its first loss of the season.

“Williamsburg started their season off beating the number one team in the state and they are now somehow ranked number two. So, we just really played the number one team in the state,” said Davis County Coach Scott Murdock. I know when our players watch film, they will realize they can compete with anyone.”

Murdock and the Mustangs hoped the field conditions and the weather would be an advantage for them, but that wasn’t the case.

"We thought the weather and field conditions would play to our advantage. Williamsburg played their last two games on field turf and they practice on field turf everyday. We liked the idea of playing them in wet conditions. We prepared in these conditions Wednesday and Thursday, but we weren’t able to get our kids detachable cleats which make a big difference,” said Murdock. I’m hoping we can get our players some of these cleats before our next wet field game.

“We wanted to tackle well against Williamsburg. We obviously didn’t do well at this. We were in position to make plays and either slipped or didn’t squeeze violently when we were in position. I thought as the game went on, we got much better at playing at a higher level and tackled much better. It would be great to face Williamsburg in the playoffs so our kids could get a chance to redeem themselves,” said Murdock.

Looking ahead to Central Lee, Murdock had this to say about his team’s preparations: “We are preparing to tackle better and play great defense. Offensively, our goal is to score on every drive. The Mustangs will be ready to prove themselves at Central Lee.”