Mustangs can’t escape D-NH
LE GRAND — Already assured of its first winning season since 2005, the East Marshall football team wanted to make some more history.
Dike-New Hartford had its own ideas.
The Wolverines (6-3, 5-4) secured second place in Class 2A District 3 and a playoff berth by beating back East Marshall, 42-20, in Friday’s crucial gridiron contest.
Cade Fuller accounted for Dike-New Hartford’s first four touchdowns and the Wolverines prevented East Marshall (5-4, 3-3) from having a chance at its first playoff appearance since 1992.
Fuller finished with 39 yards receiving, 57 passing and 54 rushing in the win.
East Marshall hung around with the perennial powerhouse by scoring 1 minute, 28 seconds into the game. Quarterback Tyler DeBondt capped the Mustangs’ opening possession with a 1-yard touchdown plunge, and East Marshall led 6-0.
Dike-New Hartford scored the next 21 points — all on touchdowns by Fuller — before East Marshall got back on the board. After an interception by Noah Bandstra, DeBondt found Zane Johnson on a fade pattern from 24 yards out to bring the Mustangs within 21-14 just before the halftime horn.
Dike-New Hartford outscored the hosts 21-6 in the second half to put the game out of reach, and East Marshall left the field on a somber note. Sophomore defensive lineman Devon Smith was taken off the field in an ambulance with 1:27 remaining, and both teams agreed to call the game final.
DeBondt finished 20-for-42 passing for 284 yards with two touchdowns — both to Johnson — and one interception. Johnson ended the night with seven catches for 115 yards, while Logan Nicholson had five receptions for 97 yards. Cole Nauman added four grabs netting 39 yards.
Defensively, Bandstra was tops with 12 solo tackles and three assists. Dillon Lee contributed six solo stops and six assists, Nicholson finished with five solo and five assists, and Nauman added five solo tackles and three assists.
East Marshall’s 5-4 campaign matched the record of its last two winning seasons, as the Mustangs went 5-4 in both 2004 and 2005.