Mustangs snap series skid

East Marshall defeats West Marshall 22-18

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • East Marshall fullback Noah Banstra (30) takes on West Marshall defender David Willis (25) while running for a gain during the first half of Friday’s Class 2A District 3 football game in Le Grand.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • East Marshall fullback Noah Banstra (30) takes on West Marshall defender David Willis (25) while running for a gain during the first half of Friday’s Class 2A District 3 football game in Le Grand.

LE GRAND — A one-sided rivalry series got turned around by a handful of big plays, and for the first time since 2005 it was the Mustangs making more of them.

The East Marshall football team snapped a seven-game losing streak suffered to its cross-county rival, beating West Marshall 22-18 in Friday’s Class 2A District 3 showdown on the strength of a big-play offense and a pair of goal-line stands.

The host Mustangs (4-2, 2-1) celebrated Homecoming by notching their fourth win of the season for the first time since 2010 by beating back the Trojans (3-3, 1-2) with their backs against the wall. East Marshall took a 14-6 lead into halftime after preventing West Marshall from scoring on four plays from the 7-yard line, and another defensive stand inside the final 1 minute, 33 seconds, helped the Mustangs stop the streak.

East Marshall had not won a game in the series since Oct. 21, 2005 — a 14-7 triumph in State Center. Between then and Friday’s rendition, West Marshall had outscored the Mustangs 344-42 in seven-straight wins.

This time around, East Marshall got the upper hand through the air. Quarterback Tyler DeBondt finished 16-for-34 for 303 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, connecting with Logan Nicholson on two of the biggest plays of the game. After West Marshall turned the ball over on downs near midfield, DeBondt found Nicholson on a crossing route over the middle. The senior receiver shrugged off a trio of Trojan defenders and left them in his wake on the way to a 29-yard touchdown.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

The Mustangs dodged trouble after giving the ball to West Marshall on a fumble at the East Marshall 27, as the Trojan offense went backward 11 yards. Two plays later, DeBondt’s deep heave was hauled in by Nicholson, who raced West Marshall’s Beau Coberley to the pylon before fumbling the ball out of bounds at the 1. DeBondt finished the drive by following the pile into the end zone, and his two-point conversion pass to Nicholson made it 14-0 Mustangs.

West Marshall responded on the ensuing kickoff, as Ryan Sabastiano faked a reverse handoff to Coberley and returned it 77 yards for the Trojans’ first points. A failed two-point run left the Mustangs with an eight-point advantage that lasted until halftime.

Coberley picked off a DeBondt pass with 5:51 left before halftime but couldn’t help the Trojans reach the end zone before turning the ball over on downs. East Marshall ran out the final 1:56 to keep the lead going into halftime.

West Marshall fired out of the intermission with an inspired scoring drive that ended with Cameron Bannister’s 3-yard touchdown run, but another failed conversion left the Trojans short, 14-12.

East Marshall made it a two-possession game when Noah Bandstra blasted through the line of scrimmage and bruised his way into the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown run. DeBondt’s two-point pass to Nicholson made it 22-12 Mustangs with 5:41 remaining.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

Another speedy scoring drive by West Marshall tightened things up again, as Bannister capped a 1:29 possession with a 1-yard TD plunge. The two-point run came up short again, leaving the Trojans down 22-18 with 4:18 to play.

The Trojans got the ball back on an interception in the end zone on fourth down with 1:33 remaining, but the drive only advanced 11 yards before time ran out on West Marshall.

Nicholson finished with six receptions for 111 yards, while running back Dillon Lee had four grabs for 94 yards. Zane Johnson hauled in two passes for 56 yards as well for the Mustangs.

Bannister ended 17-for-28 passing for 153 yards with one interception. Josh Larsen had five catches for 59 yards and Sabastiano added six grabs for 45 yards. Alex Dickey led the Trojan backfield with 49 yards rushing on 14 attempts.

Bandstra racked up eight solo tackles and eight assists to lead East Marshall’s defense. Nicholson had two quarterback sacks and Ryley Overton added another.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

East Marshall goes on the road next Friday night to face Saydel, while West Marshall entertains South Hardin in the Trojans’ final home game.

East Marshall 22, West Marshall 18

At Le Grand

W. Marshall 0 6 6 6 — 18

E. Marshall 0 14 0 8 — 22

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

First Quarter

No scoring.

Second Quarter

EM — Logan Nicholson 29 pass from Tyler DeBondt (pass failed), 10:36.

EM — Tyler DeBondt 1 run (Nicholson pass from DeBondt), 7:02.

WM — Ryan Sabastiano 77 kickoff return (run failed), 6:47.

Third Quarter

WM — Cameron Bannister 3 run (pass failed).

Fourth Quarter

EM — Noah Banstra 27 run (Nicholson pass from DeBondt), 5:41.

WM — Bannister 1 run (run failed), 4:18.

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING — WM: Alex Dickey 14-49, Bannister 20-29, Beau Coberley 7-20, Sabastiano 2-14, David Willis 1-(minus-1); EM: Bandstra 11-75, Dillon Lee 4-3, DeBondt 8-(minus-25).

PASSING — WM: Bannister 17-28-152-1; EM: DeBondt 16-34-303-1.

RECEIVING — WM: Josh Larsen 5-59, Sabastiano 6-45; EM: Nicholson 6-111, Lee 4-94, Zane Johnson 2-56, Cole Nauman 2-24, Kam Hoskins 2-18.