The Batesville Pioneers hosted the Forrest City Mustangs Friday night in a 5A East conference matchup. The Pioneers got the win by a final of 42-12. After this game the Pioneers are 4-2 overall and 3-0 in conference play, while the Mustangs are 1-4 overall and 0-3 in conference.
The Pioneers received the ball to open up the game. After a couple of big chunk plays by seniors Ethan Ridge and Taylor Daughtery, Eli Livingston found the end zone on a quarterback sneak. Alejandro Medina’s extra point try was good.
The Mustangs managed to get three first downs on their initial drive, but had to punt after Justin Lewallen got a sack.
On their second drive, the Pioneers would face third down for the first time. Ridgel would take off for a 57-yard touchdown score. Medina’s second extra point attempt was good.
The Mustangs struggled to move the ball in the second drive due to an illegal block in the back call against them. They were forced to punt once again.
For the shortest drive play-wise for the Pioneers, Ridgel rumbled and tumbled 45 yards for his second touchdown just three plays into the drive. Medina once again connected for the PAT.
On this fast start head coach of the Pioneers Dave King said “the kids came initially and played really well, they played hard and took control of the game.”
The Mustangs were forced into their second straight three and out. However on the punt they were able to recover a muffed fair catch. After this change of momentum play, plus
Kendall Akins’ 24-yard rush to go along with it, the Mustangs were looking to get their first score of the game.
Going into the second quarter, the Mustangs had their eyes on the endzone. However Justin Lewllen of the Pioneers had other plans. He had a tackle for loss plus a sack that forced a turnover on downs on that drive.
With their first possession in the second quarter, the Pioneers looked to add to their three-touchdown lead. The were moving down the field, when the Pioneers fumbled. The Pioneers jumped back on the ball, but the ‘Stangs defense was showing some life.
The Pioneers were faced with a third down and goal. After a timeout Livingston scrambled for a touchdown, but it was called back to due holding. After another timeout, Livingston had a pass that was intercepted by sophomore Devin Ugbaja.
This momentum stopped as the Mustangs were forced into a three and out by the Pioneer defense and had to punt.
After a bad snap on the punt, the Pioneers took over at the Mustang 24-yard line. Livingston connected with Will Storlie for the 24-yard score. Medina’s extra point try was good for a fourth time.
The Mustangs found the endzone after their most sustained drive of the night. After six plays, Akins kept the ball after the snap and scrambled 41 yards for the Mustangs first score. The extra point attempt was no good so Mustangs still trailed 28-6.
With just over a minute left in the half, The Pioneers punched the ball into the endzone
one more time. Ridgel took a toss from Livingston 16 yards for his third score of the night.
Medina connected with his fifth extra point try in the half.
With the start of the third quarter the Mustangs found themselves deep in their own territory after a well-placed kick by Medina. The Mustangs were forced to punt after four plays.
Storlie caught a hard tipped pass catch to set the Pioneers up in Mustang territory. Livingston then scrambled 26 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the night. Medina split the uprights for a sixth time to push the led to 42-6.
The Mustangs and Pioneers both punted on their next possessions. After the Pioneers kick, the Mustangs got their second score of the night. Akins dashed for a 78-yard score. The extra point attempt was no good, so the score stayed at 42-12.
Both teams let the clock roll after this score.
When the game was over, Akins was the leading rusher for both teams with 224 on the night to go along with two scores.
Head coach of the Mustangs Rich Trail said he hopes “we can regroup and come back stronger next week.” “Even with the setback due to COVID they keep playing hard,” Trail said about his players.
For the Pioneers, Ridgel led the way with 185 yards and three touchdowns. Livingston led in passing with 103 yards for two scores. Medina went a perfect 6 for 6 on extra point attempts.
On Ridgel, King said “he had a really good game and ran well.”
The Pioneers will travel to Wynne next Friday to take on the Yellowjackets, while the Mustangs will host the Paragould Rams.