ELDON, MO — The Fighting Irish traveled to Eldon to take on the Mustangs in the second round of Class 3 District 3 play. Both teams advanced the previous week; Catholic with a 33-21 victory over Osage and Eldon with a 72-33 trouncing of Buffalo. The Irish were looking to revenge losses to the Mustangs in District play in 2012 and 2016. The game was the coldest of the year, registering 39 degrees at kickoffs with an accompanying 10mph wind.
The Mustangs opened the game by kicking to the Irish and their defense went to work, forcing the Irish to 3 & out on the first series. An Irish punt put the Mustangs in Irish territory and Eldon chisled away at the Irish defense for the the first score of the game. The Irish offesne would settle in on their second series moving the ball 71-yards in 11 plays, highlighted by a 25-yard run by Heath Southwick and Tyson Riley 19-yard run that put the Irish inside the 5. Heath Southwick would punch the ball in from the one behind a trio of blockers (Wallace Squibb, Tyler Welch and Hunter Puckett). The 2-point conversion attempt failed. Irish 6, Mustangs 8.
The defense went back to work and was able to hold the Mustangs with the help of two penalties. The Irish took over the ball on the Mustang 47-yard line. The Mustangs held tough but fumbled a Parker Nichols punt. Hunter Brown recovered the ill-timed fumble and gave the Irish great field position on the Mustang 24. The Irish quickly covered the 24-yards, capping the drive with another Heath Southwick touchdown run. This time to the left side of the line behind the blocking of Tyler Welch, Isaiah Whiteley and Ryan George. The Logan Brock kick would give the Irish a 13-8 lead that turned out the be the last score of the game. The Mustangs countered by compiling an 8-play drive that covered 76 yards before halftime. The subsequent 2-point conversion would give the Mustangs a 16-13 lead to end the first half.
The Mustangs came out after halftime and set the tone early, scoring twice in the 3rd quarter and eating up the clock in the process (31-13 after 3). The Irsih would move the ball into Mustang territory early in the 4th but were hit with two costly penalties that pinned them deep on 4th down with 38 yards to go. The Irish gambled on a fake punt but the plan was foiled by one lone Mustang linebacker that stayed home. The Mustangs would take advantage of the short field and added a final score to extend the lead to 38-13.
Springfield Catholic finished their much improved season at 8-3. Their 3 losses were to teams all playing for district titles (Mt. Vernon, Reeds Springs & Eldon)