The Mullen Mustangs (4-6, 2-3) defeated the Lakewood Tigers (5-5, 1-4) 27-21 on a cold, Friday night that was also Senior Night for the host Mustangs.
CJ Smith, the junior running back, led the way for the Mullen offense. He carried the ball 21 times and ran for three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Kyle Remington played his best game of the year, completing 12 of his 15 pass attempts.
The scoring started early for the Mustangs. It only took them four plays to get into the endzone on their first possession. CJ Smith carried it in from three yards out, but an unsuccessful two-point attempt put the Mustangs up 6-to-0.
The Mustang would get on the board again, after a couple of punts from each team, with a 20-yard field goal from junior kicker Aidan Lehman. Lakewood responded quickly. They took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and cut the Mullen lead to 9-to-7.
Like they did the entire night the Mullen offense had an answer. CJ Smith found the endzone a second time early in the second quarter to give the Mustangs a 16-7 advantage. Later on, in the second quarter Lehman added his second field goal, this one from 30 yards away. Lakewood scored right before halftime when junior quarterback Jason Duong threw it to senior Keondre Beauty, and it was a five-point game at the half.
Mullen forced a punt on the opening possession of the second half and promptly went down and added to their lead. Aided by Lakewood penalties and the connection between best friends Kyle Remington and Ben Marcoux, the Mustang offense got inside the RedZone quickly. CJ Smith capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and a successful 2-point conversion run to give the Mustangs a 27-14 lead.
The only mistake made by the senior Remington on the night was an interception that Lakewood ran 52 yards to the endzone and made it a six-point Mullen lead.
Lakewood would get the ball back late in the fourth quarter and an incredible fourth down conversion set them up with first and goal. However, quarterback Jason Duong was injured on the 4th down play, and the Tigers brought in sophomore Connor Ladd to play quarterback. He was unable to punch the ball in to the endzone, and the Mustangs defense came up with the biggest stop of their season. Mullen ran out the clock on offense and came away with a league win.
Both teams await the playoff bracket that will be released on Sunday, for Mullen the win almost certainly ensures them a home playoff game in the first round of the 5A State Playoffs next week. For the Tigers of Lakewood, they will most likely have to travel on the road in the first round of the Class 5A State Playoffs.
Score by Quarter:
Lakewood– 7 7 0 7 21
Mullen- 9 10 8 0 27
Mullen-Smith 3 run (2 pt. conversion unnsuccessful)
Mullen-Lehman 20 FG
Lakewood-Pallett 99-yard Kick Return (Ladd Kick)
Mullen-Smith 4 run (Lehman kick)
Mullen-Lehman 30 FG
Lakewood-Beauty from Duong 13 pass (Ladd kick)
Mullen-Smith 4 run (Smith 2 pt. Conversion)
Lakewood-Reddinger 52-yard INT Return (Ladd Kick)
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