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Rebels Survive 2nd Half Rally by Midland Valley

web posted September 9, 2017

SPORTS Strom Thurmond (2-0) opened up a 21- 6 lead on Midland Valley in the second quarter only to see it erased by a hungry, (0-2) Mustang team in the fourth quarter.  The game literally came down to the very last play with the Rebels defending a meager 7 point lead. 

Midland Valley won the toss, electing to defer until the 2nd half.  In their first drive of the game, Strom Thurmond achieved one 1st down, but eventually had to call on Lawson Reel to punt the ball.  Reel's punt left the Mustangs starting their first drive on their own 12 yard line.

The Mustang's first drive fizzled out after gaining only 8 yards.  A 24 yard punt left the Rebels with excellent field position, starting their second drive at the Midland Valley  44 yard line.  Thurmond then turned to senior running back, Jaquan Edwards for three straight plays to set themselves up on the Mustang 5 yard line, where Tyrek Williams was able to run the ball in literally untouched, for the first score of the game.  With 4:46 left in the 1st quarter, kicker Lawson Reel, made the point-after attempt giving Thurmond a 7-0 lead.

The Mustangs began their next set of downs on their own 17 yard line after an excellent kick by Reel.  On 3rd and 13, Mustang quarterback, Tanner White was intercepted by Rebel safety, Trey Key, who run the ball back to Midland Valley's 10-yard line.  Jaquan Edwards scored on the next play, bulldozing his way into the end zone.  Reel's extra point kick was good and with 2:31 left in the first quarter, the Rebels held a 14-0 lead.

The Mustangs showed some fire on their next possession which began on their own 29 yard line, late in the first quarter.  After scrambling for a 1st down, Mustangs quarterback, White hit senior wide receiver, Will Sheehan for a big gain to the Thurmond 47-yard line.  As the second quarter began, White, under pressure from a determined Rebel defense, scrambled around and passed to Sheehan for a touchdown.  Thurmond safety, Josh Pixley blocked the point after attempt holding the Mustangs at 14-6.

With 11:01 remaining in the second quarter, Thurmond quarterback, Jequan Harris was stopped short of a 1st down in his attempt to convert a 3rd and 8 situation.  When the Rebels lined up to go for the 1st down, the Mustangs were spooked into a time-out.  When play resumed, Edwards picked up an important first down, and several plays later, #9 Javin Holston would take it in for the score.  Reel's point after brought the game to 21-6.

On the kick-off, the Mustangs proved that they were not out of the contest, with WR Will Sheehan nearly returning the kick for a touchdown.  Only kicker, Lawson Reel, stood between Sheehan and 6 points.  An ankle-tackle by Reel brought the Mustang wide receiver to the ground.  A few plays later, in a 3rd and 8 situation, Midland Valley's quarterback was intercepted by Josh Pixley inside the Thurmond 1-yard line.  Edwards moved the ball out to the 4, and the Rebels called for a time out.  On the next play, Thurmond drew a penalty for movement on the right side of the line, which placed the ball at the 2.  Jequan Harris was then sacked in his own end zone for a safety by a host of Mustangs making the score 21-8.

Mustang senior, Raekwon Jackson returned an excellent Thurmond kick to the Midland Valley 21-yard line.  The drive by the Mustangs failed and they were forced to punt.  Rebel's receiver, Tyrek Williams returned the ball for a touchdown, but had it called back for a penalty (blocking in the back).  On the next play, from their own 37-yard line, Thurmond's, Harris suffered a high, blind-side hit causing him to fumble the ball, which, was recovered by Midland Valley.  Edwards saving tackle, on his own 22 yard-line, denied the Mustangs a touchdown with 19.3 seconds remaining in the half.  An incomplete pass left 12.9 seconds on the clock.  Midland Valley was penalized for illegal procedure on the next play and then took a time out with 5.8 seconds remaining.  Thurmond's, Deshaun Miles, put an end to the 2nd quarter Mustang rally by sacking QB White to end the half.

Receiving to start the second half, Sheehan returned the ball to the Mustang's 40-yard line.  Later, Jacobi Sapp, a senior Mustang receiver, made a big reception at the Thurmond 20-yard line.  Sheehan would then take it to the 8.  The Mustangs lost 2 on the next play with Sheehan being dropped for a loss.  When the 3rd down play failed, Midland Valley brought out their kicker, Parker Welsh who scored a 32-yard field goal, bringing the score to 21-11, with 8:46 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Thurmond's following drive was fruitless forcing them to punt the ball.  Midland Valley took over on their own 16-yard line.  The next few downs showed a "never quit" attitude by the Mustangs featuring a short run by running back, Walter Baker, a reception by WR Kendrique Starlings, and diving and juggling catches by receiver Jacobi Sapp to set up a 1st and 10 on the Rebel 18-yard line.  An end zone pass by White drew an interference penalty against Thurmond which placed the ball at the 9-yard line.  A couple of plays later, Sheehan runs around the corner to the 3-yard line, but on the next play, White was sacked for a loss on a quick snap that was intended to catch the Rebels off guard.  The Mustangs settled for a 22-yard, Parker Welsh field goal making the score 21-14.

Thurmond's next set of downs started out with promise, with gains by Jaquan Edwards and Tyrek Williams.  Then, Javin Holston broke to the Midland Valley 1-yard line only to have the play called back to the Mustang 20-yard line for holding.  Edwards would take it to the 15 on the next play.  Then, a penalty for delay of game, and another for offensive pass interference would put the Rebels all the way back to the Midland Valley 33-yard line.  After a couple of incomplete passes, Reel attempted a 45 yard field goal which went wide left.

The Mustangs were unable to convert in their next drive and punted the ball away.  Trying to field the ball, Tyrek Williams fumbled the ball into the air, leading to a turn over at the Midland Valley 45.  Receptions by Mustang's Jacobi Sapp, D.J. Pearson, and Kendrique Starlings brought the ball back down to the Rebel 14-yard line.  A pass interference call against Thurmond set up a short touchdown pass to Starlings from White.  With the extra point good, the score was tied at 21 each with only 4:14 left in the game.

After Tyrek Williams kick off return to the Rebel 33, Thurmond called on the big man, Edwards, who covered the remaining 67 yard to Midland Valley's end zone in three plays.  The extra point by Reel made the score 28-21 and left the Mustangs with 3:07 to do or die.

The final kick off by Thurmond was a line-drive through the end zone.  Midland Valley started on their own 20.  First, an incomplete pass by White brought up 2nd and 10.  On the next play, White was sacked by defensive end, Tre Moore resulting in White losing his helmet.  A couple of short passes brought up 4th and 10,  Starlings reception gained a 1st down at the Mustang 30-yard line.  White scrambled for another 1st down.  Three plays later on 4th and 9, White passes to WR Jahmal Jackson, who was brought down at the Rebel 42-yard line with 12 seconds left.  Midland Valley quickly spiked the ball stopping the clock at 10 seconds.  On 2nd and 10, an interference call against Strom Thurmond breathed more life into the Mustangs.  With 3.3 seconds on the clock, White took the final snap, drifted back, and launched a pass into the waiting arms of Rebel sophomore, Mike Robinson, ending the game at 28-21.

The Rebels advance to 3-0, while the courageous Mustangs fall to 0-3.

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