Mustangs hang on against second-half charge
ATHENS — The Athens Wildcats came up just short on Friday evening at Alumni Stadium after putting together a 19-point fourth quarter, ultimately falling to the Midd-West Mustangs, 34-32.
With just under a minute left on the clock and looking to tie the game, freshman quarterback Mason Lister rushed the ball in from two yards out.
Now trailing by two and the hopes of a 21-point fourth quarter comeback, Athens lined up to go for two. Coach Jack Young elected to go for a trick play, as running-back Caleb Nichols attempted a pass to Lister that was intercepted.
It was the tale of two halves Friday evening fror the Wildcats as they scored six points in the first half and 26 in the second.
“It’s a confidence thing,” Young stated that he told his team at halftime. “I told them they can’t stop us.”
Confidence was a word Young used often following the ball game.
“Maybe this game built some confidence in our team,” he added. “It’s all about confidence.”
Midd-West opened the scoring on the very first drive of the game. Hunter Wolfley rattled off a 45-yard run that set up a Trey Lauver four-yard touchdown.
Midd-West went on to double its lead after intercepting a bad Lister pass on Athens’ opening possession.
It was Wolfley again who lead the Mustangs to the end zone, this time doing it himself from 35 yards out.
The Wildcats got on the board early in the second quarter when Lister and wide-out Keegan Rude connected on the first of their four touchdowns on the game.
Midd-West was quick to respond, scoring a touchdown of their own on their next possession. Wolfley scored his second of the game from 13-yards out.
The Mustangs scored once more before the halftime intermission as quarterback Christian Regester connected with a wide-open Gabe Regester for a 38-yard score. The Mustangs lead 27-6 at halftime.
Athens received the ball to open the second half and was quick to double its score. Lister connected with Rude for their second touchdown from 14-yards out.
Again, it was the Mustangs who again quickly responded, erasing the work of the Wildcats as they scored yet another touchdown. Again, it was Christian Regester and Gabe Regester connecting for a 61-yard score.
As the fourth quarter rolled around, the Wildcats found themselves trailing by 21 points.
The offense went to work, scoring their first of three fourth-quarter touchdowns just a minute deep, this time it was Lister and Rude for 28-yards.
After forcing the Mustangs to turn the ball over on downs, Lister and Rude connected for one final touchdown pass on the game, this time for 47-yards.
With the clock against them, the Wildcats took possession of the ball with 3:01 left, starting from their own 26-yard line.
Behind the legs of sophomore running back Shayne Reid, who had 58 of the yards, the youth-filled team went 74 yards for the score.
It came down to the two-point conversion. The Wildcats were unable to convert.
Midd-West (3-5) hosts Greater Latrobe Oct. 18.
Midd-West 34, Athens 32
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Midd-West 14 13 7 0–34
Athens 0 6 7 19–32
Total yards 314 407
Rushes-yards 33-200 34-144
Yards passing 114 263
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 6-10-1 16-29-1
RUSHING: MW– Trey Lauver 13-32 TD, Hunter Wolfley 15-145 2 TDs, Christian Regester 5-23; A– Mason Lister 2-(-3) TD, Caleb Nichols 5-5, Shayen Reid 22-124, Troy Jennings 5-18.
PASSING: MW– C.Regester 6-10-1-114 2 TD; A– Lister 16-29-1-263 4 TDs.
RECEIVING: MW– Oakley Bennett 1-5, G.Regester 3-108 TDs, Wolfley 1-1; A– JJ Babcock 4-69, Keegan Rude 9-160 4 TDs, Reid 3-35.