Macksville's #12 Tanner Tranbarger found his form last Friday as the junior quarterback connected for 191 passing yards and 184 rushing yards in the Mustangs' 28-24 win over the Kiowa County Mavericks.
Kiowa County was well positioned to take the win from the sluggish-starting Mustangs, who entered Friday's game 0-2, having surrendered a combined 92 points to opponents in the opening two weeks of the season.
In contrast, the Mavericks seemed to be gaining steam after their 40-to-14 road victory against South Gray last week.
Burnt orange and white fans, still jazzed from an exhilarating but exhausting day of county-wide celebration, watched athletic hyphenates Rustin Ardery and Heather Melton receive their king and queen crowns on an cool evening that hinted at the Fall season to come.
The homecoming parade, chock-full of decorated floats with plenty of horse eating innuendo, took fan excitement level to a Spinal Tap-esk equivalent of eleven. It would become the late game fervor that nearly propelled the Mavericks to an epic comeback.
Something must have awoke the sleep beast in Macksville as the Mustangs came out gunning, leading by 14 points at the half. Tranbarger, who would, by game's end, compile 375-of-the-386 yards of team offense, was able to find receivers downfield when needed the most.
Kiowa County came charging back in the second half, but a pivotal pass play in the fourth quarter would doom the Mavericks to a 4-point deficit that cost them the win.
In the final minutes of the game, the Mavericks defensive line, with help from a series of penalties and miscues from Mustang ball handlers, pushed Macksville into their own red zone.
An extremely vocal Tranbarger, seeing clearly that his well executed game was on the brink of collapse, barked angrily at his line, having incurred more than a half dozen false start penalties since the opening whistle.
The Mavericks, within striking distance due to a pair of rushing TD's from #8 Trever Powell, trailed by only 6-points.
The ground shook and the bleachers rumbled as a Mustangs quick snap turned into a 50-yard Hail Mary pass play to #88 Adolfo Ibarra that put the Mustangs back in the game.
The defensive line did their best, but ultimately a TD-from-inches soon after cost the Mavericks the game.
A self-esteem'er from #22 Keenan Behee with 13 seconds left on the clock only highlighted the Mustang fourth down punt that could have been.
Powell and #24 Creighton McDonald combined for 249 yards, with #51 Rustin Ardery mashing the Mustang backfield with 14 total tackles.
Big man #50 Erik Torres should be nominated for 'sound of the game' when the 5'10" 257 lb freshman barreled over a wilting Mustang lineman during a 10-yard kickoff return.
Page 2 of 2 - The Mavericks (1-2) will travel to Kinsley on Friday Sept. 21 to play the Coyotes (1-2). You can read a preview of Friday's matchup in this week's Game Night magazine.