Turnovers are always crucial in determining the outcome of a football game but, in the case of Friday night’s game between the Panther Creek Catamounts and Middle Creek Mustangs, it appeared to be the only determining factor. In the first half alone, the Mustangs turned the ball over five times. Two of those turnovers led to Catamount scores.
The Middle Creek offense just couldn’t seem to get anything going all game. Whenever a good drive appeared to be shaping up, the Mustangs seemed to either turn the ball over or suddenly be forced into a fourth down situation.
The second half was just as unsuccessful as the first for Middle Creek. Only scoring three points the entire game, it is obvious the offense struggled. But for one of the top teams in the state, it is surprising that the offense was forced into so many three-and-outs and turnovers.
The Catamounts held a 6-0 lead in the second half when the Mustangs finally found the scoreboard with a 23-yard Rubino field goal towards the end of the third quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, both teams had yet to find the end zone as the score was 6-3 in favor of Panther Creek.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Mustangs were deep in their own territory for the start of a drive they hoped would help them take the lead. That hope went down the drain as Grisel threw his third interception of the night, which was returned for a Catamount touchdown.
The score after the Panther Creek pick-six would stand for the remainder of the game, 13-3.
Turnovers caused much of Middle Creek’s struggle to score. Quarterback Grisel struggled, throwing four interceptions, a statistic out of character for the senior. There were also several lost fumbles by the Mustangs, which added to their struggle.
Panther Creek turned the ball over multiple times as well, signifying this one as a very defensive game. Even after takeaways, both teams really found it difficult to score, with only four scores throughout the game when there were more than ten turnovers/takeaways.
The Mustangs hope for health next week as well when travel to Holly Springs High School to take on the Golden Hawks. Several of Middle Creek’s key players were injured, including star running back Elijah Perry, who left Friday’s game with an injury.
Middle Creek needs to be more efficient as well as stay healthy on the offensive side of the ball if they hope to return to their dominance from the first half of the season.
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Reporter: Sam Pittman