November 12, 2008 Edition

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Coach Tom Sears speaks to his Mustangs following their victory over Harrisburg on Friday night that clinched them a share of the conference title and a bye to the second round of the state playoffs. Hoxie fans who traveled to Harrisburg for the game can be seen in the background.
Submitted Photo ~ David Dobbs

Mustangs earn title, playoff bye

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

The Hoxie Mustangs claimed a share of the 3A-3 conference championship with a 26-20 overtime win over previously undefeated Harrisburg Thursday night at Harrisburg. As the conference's top playoff seed, Hoxie receives a first-round bye and will host a second-round game in two weeks.

The teams ended regulation play tied 20-20. Hoxie was on offense to begin the overtime period. Cody West caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Clay Hart to give the Mustangs a 26-20 lead. The Mustang defense then stopped Harrisburg on four downs to earn the victory.

"Our players and coaches put a tremendous amount of work in attaining the conference championship. It's a tremendous blessing to see it happen for them and for our community," said Hoxie head coach Tom Sears. "We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play at home in the playoffs. We would like to thank our fans for their support on Thursday. They were tremendous."

Harrisburg got on the scoreboard first, when quarterback Zach Davis found Jake Streeter for an 18-yard touchdown with 5:26 to play in the first quarter.

Harrisburg was driving again in the second quarter, when Josh Cypret picked off a Hornets pass, giving Hoxie possession at their own 26 yard-line.

Mustang quarterback Hart capped a 74-yard drive with a one-yard run with 2:25 to play in the half. The conversion attempt was no good, leaving the game tied 6-6.

The Mustang defense rose up again in the third period when Adam Madden intercepted a Harrisburg pass to give Hoxie the ball at the Hornets' 43-yard line. Once again, Hoxie was able to take advantage of the turnover when Hart scored on another one-yard run. Brad Cook's extra point gave the Mustangs a 13-6 lead with 8:33 remaining in the third period.

Harrisburg trimmed Hoxie's lead to 13-12 when Streeter returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

Hoxie stretched its lead to eight on Hart's third touchdown of the evening, a two-yard run with 1:44 to play in the third. Cook's PAT made the score 20-12 in the Mustangs' favor.

It appeared that the score would stand, until Harrisburg rallied late in the fourth quarter. Davis hit Justin Jones with an eight-yard touchdown pass with just 1:23 remaining on the clock. Davis then passed to Kevin Harkey for the game-tying two-point conversion.

Hart finished with 14 rushing yards on 15 attempts, but found the end zone three times. He also completed 10-of-20 pass attempts for 107 yards and a touchdown.

Blaine Middlecoff led the Mustang rushing effort with 155 yards on 27 carries. Sebastian Irvin had 58 yards on 10 carries, and Houston Waldrupe added 19 yards on four carries.

Cook caught two passes for 26 yards, while Madden and Jeremy Anglin each had two receptions for 20 yards. West caught two for 12 yards and a touchdown. Dakota Richardson had one reception for 20 yards, and Jonathan Quesada had one for nine yards.

On defense, Blake Snow and David Sanders led Hoxie with nine tackles each, while Cypret had seven. Madden, Cypret and Snow each had an interception. Chris Montelongo, Josh Ferguson and Derek Johnson each recorded a quarterback sack.

Players of the week are Richardson and Middlecoff on offense, Snow on defense and Sanders on special teams.

The Mustangs finished the regular season with a 9-1 overall record and will host the winner of the Harmony Grove-Lamar game on Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. The complete 3A state playoff bracket can be found at www.hoxiemustangfootball.com.

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