Williamsburg loss means Mustangs will battle for second place spot Friday

The Mustang football team will finish the 2021 regular season this week with a home game against Mid-Prairie. Game time will be at 7:30 p.m. at Mustang Stadium.

The game should be a good one for the Mustangs. Both teams come into the game with overall records of 4-3. Those two teams and Williamsburg are all 4-3 going into the final week of the season. Williamsburg handed the Mustangs a 41-8 loss last Friday night, leading to each of the three teams being 4-3 at this point in the season.

In terms of district play, Williamsburg is now 4-0 in Class 2A District 6 play. Mid-Prairie and Davis County are both 3-1 in district play with each team suffering losses to Williamsburg in the district.

Friday night’s game is an important one for both Davis County and Mid-Prairie. It will determine which team will finish in second place of the district standings.

One thing is certain for Davis County going into week eight of the season. Win or lose, the Mustangs will be playing a ninth game and will enter the post-season playoffs. The top four teams in each district will be playoff bound this season. With Mid-Prairie and Davis County both tied for second place now, Friday night’s game become an important one when it comes to determining the playoff seeding and also the ability of each of the teams to host a playoff first round game.

Coach Scott Murdock and the Mustangs know what’s at stake this week and motivation is high among the team as they know what they are playing for. “Mid-Prairie is a good team,” said Murdock. “We must do our jobs well and execute to beat them and secure a top spot in our division playoffs. We have a lot to play for.”

Last Friday night’s loss to Williamsburg was a tough one for the Mustangs who had their sights set on remaining in the driver’s seat of the district standings. Williamsburg’s football program is strong and the team is a regular contender in the playoffs. The Raiders may have started the season with an 0-3 record, but they looked like a strong team last Friday night as they began play against the Mustangs.

The Raider’s defense and hard-hitting players provided the Mustangs with all they could handle. Coach Murdock and the Mustangs had plans to hit Williamsburg with a balanced offensive attack, but all that changed when running back Gavin McCall went down with an injury.

McCall left the game and later took a trip to the Davis County Hospital to get checked out for a leg injury. He returned to the sidelines later in the game.

The loss of McCall meant Murdock and the Mustangs had to change their game play. Hoyt Dzwoniarski and Cohen Piper took over the duties of running the ball, but struggled to find success against a smothering Williamsburg defense. The Mustangs ran the ball 32 times for 156 yards. Quarterback Carson Maeder threw the ball 29 times completing 17 of those passes for 157 yards.

Williamsburg trimmed down the Mustang offense by at least 100 yards compared to the previous two weeks.

The Mustangs took care of the ball pretty well but just couldn’t move the ball when they needed to against the Williamsburg defense. Maeder was picked off on the Mustangs’ first possession.

A fumble following a 15-yard pass play from Maeder to Tayden Bish gave the ball back to Williamsburg on the Mustangs’ next possession. The play also resulted in Bish sustaining an arm injury, which he played through for the rest of the night.

Williamsburg may have put up 41 points on the Mustangs, but Davis County did come up with some solid defensive plays in the game. Dzwoniarski picked off a Williamsburg pass to give the ball to Davis County for their first possession of the night. The Mustangs were also able to get through the Williamsburg offensive line regularly to secure tackles for lost yardage and quarterback sacks.

Williamsburg benefited from the running game early but later found several big plays from the passing game.

The Mustangs played Williamsburg even in the first quarter as neither team was able to score. Williamsburg scored with 7:17 left in the second quarter and then added two more scores before halftime to take a 21-0 lead. Two of those three scores came on pass plays of 32 yards and 43 yards.

Davis County’s lone score in the game came with 9:09 left in the third quarter. The Mustangs started the second half with the ball and marched the ball 80 yards down the field.

Cohen Piper got the drive started with 11 yards on his first two carries. Maeder found Bish for a 14-yard gain and another first two. Piper broke free for a 22-yard gain and the Mustangs were looking good. In five more plays, Maeder found Easton White for an eight-yard touchdown pass on the near side. The two also hooked up on a pass for the two-point conversion and Williamsburg’s lead was trimmed to 21-8.

The Mustang defense responded by forcing a Williamsburg punt on their next drive. The Raiders struggled with penalties all night and this drive favored Davis County and helped force the punt as well. Williamsburg added a score late in the third quarter and took a 28-8 lead.

The Mustangs struggled to sustain offensive drives and turned the ball over on downs on three straight drives following their third-quarter score.

The Raiders added two more scores in the final quarter to secure the 4-18 victory and move into sole possession of first place in the Class 2A District 6 standings.

“Williamsburg showed us things that we have not seen before. They played in a locked -man tight coverage, which we tried to exploit vertically,” said Coach Murdock. “We just missed a handful of times. Like we see most the times watching film, if we can eliminate our own mistakes, we are more likely to exploit their weaknesses.

“Losing McCall to injury was obviously a blow to the offense and the success of the night. Piper and Dzwoniarski did a great job covering for Gavin,” said Murdock. “When he went out and we were able to drive the length of the field, that was fun, but we want Gavin out there. McCall, Piper, and Bish all got dinged up. We are hoping they can have quick rehab this week.”