Stangs top the Owls on home field

Defense leads team to win with best showing this season.


Juan Cebreiros

Safetys Quatama Massoquoi and Khi-ron Green close in on an Owls receiver to break up a pass.

Juan Cebreiros, Staff Writer

The offense of the Los Medanos College Mustangs has been one of the highlights of the team this season, as they had been averaging over 30 points a game going into their contest against the Foothill Owls. However defense was the team’s key to winning a tightly contested 10-7 game on Oct. 22. 

Both teams’ offenses were unable to get any momentum going throughout the game. aEach side punted six times and were mediocre at converting third downs with neither team being able to surpass the 50% mark. Early in the game the Mustangs’ offense was able to march down the field and get inside the five-yard line, however the team couldn’t get into the endzone and ended up turning the ball over on downs after receiver Brian Cruz wasn’t able to secure a catch in the endzone on fourth down. The Mustangs’ defense got the ball back to the offense quickly, however, with defensive back Khi-ron Green intercepting a pass tipped by multiple players. 

When the offense came back onto the field this time, it wasn’t with starting quarterback Jake Byrne but instead backup quarterback Brenden Bush. The change saw little success as the Mustangs’ offense was unable to pick up a first down. The Owls were on offense but then gave the ball right back to the Mustangs after their running back had the ball knocked loose by Green. This time the Mustang offense was not going to squander another opportunity given to them by their defense. Bush connected with receiver Matt Quesada on the sideline for a long touchdown midway through the second quarter to take a 7-0 lead. That would be the only score in the first two quarters and the game went into halftime with the Stangs leading the Owls.

Mustangs head coach Chris Shipe explained the change of quarterbacks and said, “Both guys are playing well and we just want to get both of them opportunities.”

Coming out in the second half both defenses continued their reigns of terror over the opposing offenses unitl midway through the third quarter when the Owls’ offense finally broke through against the LMC defense with No. #28 Jayden Frazier catching a pass out of the backfield and taking it 30 yards for the Owls’ first score of the game, tying the score 7-7. 

The Mustangs were able to march back down the field under quarterback Byrne, however kicker Isaiah Apostol missed the go-ahead field goal as the clock ran out in the fourth quarter with the game still tied at seven. 

After the missed field goal the Owls moved down the field on a Mustangs’ defense that had been giving them struggles all game and got the ball inside the 20-yard line when they were forced to settle for a field goal. Foothill kicker Ty Goldsbury missed the chance to give his team a three-point lead. 

From this point on both defenses stiffened up as neither offense could move into field goal range for a chance to take the lead. The Mustangs were near midfield when Byrne threw a pass that was intercepted by the Owls and seemed to seal the Stangs’ fate when the Owls returned it inside the 35-yard line. However, the defense was called upon one more time to get the ball back into their offense’s hands. The defense forced and recovered the fumble they desperately needed with two and a half minutes to go in the game. Bush was given the opportunity to win his team the game with a clutch drive but was hurt in the attempt.

Big plays by running back Zeke Barber and wide receiver Kimahni Tolefree moved the Mustangs to just outside field goal range. However after taking a sack, Bush landed awkwardly on his left arm and came out of the game holding his left wrist. Byrne was forced back into the game when the Mustangs needed a big play to get them into field goal range. He connected with Tolefree, who picked up only nine yards on the play, but a facemask penalty by the Owls gave the Mustangs 15 more yards and moved them into field goal range where two plays later Apostol redeemed his miss from the third quarter and drilled a 27-yard field goal to give the Mustangs a 10-7 victory. 

“I’d rather score 10 points and win than score 49 points and lose,” Shipe commented on the game. “It’s a team game and the defense deserves this. The team will use the bye week as time to heal as both quarterbacks have been playing with injuries. Going into the game Byrne was nursing a shoulder injury and Bush a thumb injury as well as now a wrist injury. After the bye week the Mustangs will welcome Hartnell College at home Nov. 5 as they have two more games to get back to .500 on the season.