by Lindy Williams
After Triangle Lake forfeited to the Crane Mustangs last weekend, the Mustangs faced a rematch with the Powder Valley Badgers on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Crane. The previous game, played in Vale, had been a hard-fought victory for the Mustangs with a 44-40 score.
This time, however, the Mustangs quickly secured the lead and never looked back in a 54-6 win.
A minute and a half into the game, the Mustangs put the first points on the board when Elijah Epling tackled the Badgers’ Seth Dixon in the endzone, resulting in a safety, 2-0.
After the ensuing kickoff, Miles Maupin handed off to Jay Jay Balowski, who carried the ball to the end zone for a 37-yard gain and a touchdown. Maupin kept the ball for the extra point, and ran it in for a 10-0 score.
After trading possessions with the Badgers, the Mustangs faced first-and-20 after a holding penalty. Maupin handed off to Balowski, who turned upfield for a 66-yard touchdown. Jacob Dunn ran in the two-point conversion, bringing the score to 18-0.
The two teams traded possessions again, and another handoff from Maupin to Balowski resulted in a 20-yard gain and touchdown. Maupin punched in the extra point, bringing the game to 26-0.
The Mustangs’ pass defense stopped the Badgers’ ensuing possession and the ball returned to Crane’s hands. A handoff from Maupin to Dunn put the next six points on the board and Maupin secured the two-point conversion, 34-0.
The Badgers kicked off to begin the third quarter, and runs from Dunn and David Steeves put Crane in scoring position. Maupin connected with Cashe Davis for a 22-yard completion and a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 40-0.
An interception by Dunn ended the Badgers’ next possession, and Maupin handed off to Steeves for a 47-yard touchdown run. Balowski punched in the two-point conversion, upping the score to 48-0.
The Badgers’ only score of the game came when Dixon sprinted to the end zone for a two-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, making it 48-6.
The Badgers regained possession when their onside kick bounced off Davis’ hands and the Badgers recovered. The following play, Dixon attempted a pass that was intercepted by Balowski and returned for a 60-yard touchdown, 54-6. The remaining seconds ticked off the clock, cementing Crane’s victory.
The Mustangs’ rushing game logged 392 yards for the game. Balowski led the rushing attack with 194 yards, Steeves had 77, Dunn 57, Joyce 38, and Maupin 26.
Crane’s offense picked up 46 yards through the air. Maupin threw for all 46 yards on three completions. Davis was the Mustangs’ leading receiver with 22 yards on one reception. Epling caught one pass for 13 yards, and Steeves had one catch for 11 yards.
The Mustangs’ next round of the OSAA 1A state playoffs will be played against North Douglas at Summit High School in Bend on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m.