November 15, 2006 Edition

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Mustangs win playoff game

Hoxie's Alex Ward breaks loose to pick up yardage on a fourth down and long play during the Mustangs' first-round playoff game against Gurdon. Hoxie won the game 19-6 to advance.
Submitted Photos ~ David Dobbs

Debbie Richey
Staff Writer

The Hoxie Mustangs defeated the Gurdon Go-Devils 19-6 Friday in the first round of the 3A state football playoffs at Gurdon. The Mustangs will hit the road again when they travel to Springdale to face undefeated Shiloh Christian in a second-round game on Friday.

Hoxie was the first to score, when Brad Cook ran six yards for a touchdown with 7:44 to play in the first quarter. Cook added the extra point to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead. Gurdon answered on an 11-yard quarterback keeper with 7:15 to play before halftime. Hoxie's Jeff Johnson knocked down a Gurdon pass on a fake PAT attempt to preserve the 7-6 lead for the Mustangs.

Tyler Thompson blocked a Gurdon punt in the third quarter to set up Hoxie's next scoring drive, which ended with Cook's 13-yard run. The PAT attempt was no good, leaving the Mustang lead at 13-6.

The Mustangs put the game away early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run by Jeff Johnson with 10:05 to play. The two-point conversion attempt was no good. Hoxie controlled the remainder of the game to claim the win.

The Mustangs finished with 229 yards of total offense, all of it rushing.

Alex Ward rushed for 102 yards on 20 carries, and Cook had 96 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.

Thompson led the defensive effort with 15 tackles and two blocked punts. Weston Gates had 12 tackles and Jeff Johnson had 10. Ward, Derek Johnson and Byron Stocker each recorded nine tackles. Jeremiah Dauck had eight tackles, two sacks and a blocked pass. Cook had eight tackles, and Chris Troutman had six tackles and a sack.

"This was a great win for our football program. I can't explain how proud I am of my coaching staff and every guy on this football team," Hoxie head coach Tom Sears said. "That was a very talented football team we beat. The records of the teams that had beaten them this year totalled 36-4. To be able to travel four hours and play the way they did shows the tremendous hearts and desire to win that they have.

"This Friday, the Mustangs will travel to Springdale to face the number one ranked Shiloh Christian Saints. We know we have a great challenge in front of us, but at the same time it is a great opportunity," Sears said.

"I can promise you that this team will give you everything it has to try to pull off a victory." Game time will be at 7:30 p.m. at Champions Field.

"I hope everyone that traveled to Gurdon last Friday will travel to Springdale. Our fans were tremendous last Friday," Sears added.

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