Nixon-Smiley struggles in season opener with Flatonia
Nixon-Smiley 6, Flatonia 41
FLATONIA -- It was all about the ground game in Flatonia last Friday night, but the Nixon-Smiley Mustangs were on the wrong side of the equation. The team ended the night with negative rushing yardage, while allowing the Bulldogs to tally 290 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
The Mustangs were off from the onset of the game, and struggled to keep up, then to try and catch up. Flatonia scored its first touchdown of the night midway through the first quarter on an 11-yard run, then scored a second 3-1/2 minutes later on a 13-yard run. The score was 14-0 at the end of the first. Just over a minute into the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored a third touchdown from 2 yards out, and led 21-0.
Nixon-Smiley got on the board with 8:06 to play in the half, as sophomore quarterback Nick Pena connected with junior receiver Garrett Earlywine for 44 yards and a touchdown. The extra-point attempt was no good, and the score stood at 21-6 in favor of Flatonia.
With time still left in the half, the Bulldogs went back to work, and added two additional touchdowns. One came on a 49-yard dash from midfield, and the other on a short 3-yard scamper. One failed kick and 2-point conversion later, Flatonia took a commanding 35-6 advantage into halftime.
While Nixon-Smiley’s troubles continued in the second half, the Bulldog offense slowed its pace, but did score a little insurance on a 26-yard touchdown run with 6:48 to play in the third. The score was 41-6 at that point, and it became about clock management for Flatonia.
Pena completed two of three passing attempts for Nixon-Smiley. While Earlywine’s catch went for 44 yards and the score, Tristan Newman’s reception was brought down at the line of scrimmage for no gain. Jared VanAuken was the Mustangs’ leading rusher with 29 yards on 15 carries, and Newman ended the night in positive yardage with 5 on nine carries.
The Mustangs won’t have a lot of time to correct what is wrong, and will have another big challenge this Friday, Sept. 7, as they travel to Three Rivers to face another Bulldog football team. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.