Wranglers jump to big, early lead then hang on for win
BY CLIFF GIBSON
Published on Thursday, 27 September 2012 23:45
CARROLLTON – If the West Mesquite Wranglers are hoping to contend for the District 10-4A crown, they’ve still got some work to do. The Wranglers built a 22-point lead Thursday but let it get away before finally holding off Carrollton Creekview, 32-26, in the district opener at Standridge Stadium.
West Mesquite (3-1, 1-0) had 520 yards of offense but turnovers and penalties at the most inopportune times allowed the Mustangs (2-2, 0-1) to climb back out of the early hole and make it a close game.
Raashaan Reason rushed for 215 yards and a score, which came on the first play from scrimmage in the form of a 93-yard run. He also set up the Wranglers’ final score with a 70-yard run midway through the fourth period. West Mesquite finished with 399 yards on the ground.
Wranglers quarterback Chason Virgil accounted for 262 total yards (141 rushing) but threw a pair of interceptions and lost a fumble in the fourth period. Akilian Butler caught five passes from Virgil for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
Creekview’s David Blough kept the Mustangs in the game with his arm, completing 25-of-43 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Raquan Dobbs (99 yards, one touchdown) and Dylan Kittrell (82 yards, two touchdowns) combined for 13 receptions. The Mustangs finished with 377 total yards.
After one period, it appeared as if the Wranglers would run away to an easy win after Reason ripped off his 93-yard touchdown run on the first snap for a 7-0 lead. After quickly forcing a Creekview punt, the Wranglers struck again when Virgil hit Butler over the middle for a 25-yard score. West Mesquite took a 14-0 lead with more than seven minutes to play in the opening frame.
Once the Mustangs picked off Virgil for the first time, they were able to put together their first decent drive, but saw it come to an end when Will Early intercepted Blough’s pass in the end zone. That turnover led to a 15-play drive that ended with Virgil’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Butler. Reason ran in the conversion for a 22-0 lead with 8:46 left in the half.
After Creekview got on the board, Virgil ran 65 yards to set up a 23-yard field goal by Miguel Garza, giving the Wranglers a 25-7 halftime advantage.
But the table turned in the second half.
Creekview opened the second half with a 60-yard touchdown from Blough to Dobbs to get within 25-14. While the Wranglers struggled on offense, the Mustangs struck again later in the third on Deven Barnes’ 46-yard scoring run to make it 25-20 after failing to convert the 2-point try.
The Wranglers turned the ball over on each of their next two possessions but took advantage of Creekview’s missed field goal attempt midway through the final period. Reason sprinted through the Mustang defense for a 70-yard run down to the 1 and sophomore Jamarie Williams punched it in to make it 32-20 with 7:35 to play.
Creekview put together a 13-play, 80-yard drive to score late in the fourth period with the help of some Wrangler penalties. West Mesquite was flagged for defensive pass interference on a fourth-and-7, then again for defensive holding on a fourth-and-4. Blough made the Wranglers pay with a 14-yard pass to Kittrell but the Mustangs failed to convert, leaving the score at 32-26 with 2:29 to play.
Creekview was unable to recover an onside kick attempt but forced a Wrangler punt to get one more shot at the end zone. However, Kevin Iraheta pinned the Mustangs back to their own 3 with a 51-yard kick and Creekview was unable to complete the comeback before time expired.
West Mesquite will be home next Thursday to take on the winless Terrell Tigers in another district game. Kickoff from Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.