By Trey Hunter
One year ago, Mustang did the unthinkable.
The Broncos knocked off a powerful, east-side opponent on the road, in the playoffs — defeating Broken Arrow at Tiger Field in the Class 6A-1 quarterfinals.
It’s familiar territory to say the least as Mustang embarks on another quest for the state championship, once again opening the postseason at Broken Arrow tonight at 7:30 p.m.
This time is a little different. Last year, Mustang finished third in the District 2 while Broken Arrow finished second in District 1. This year, BA is district champions and Mustang enters as the 4-seed. And although little has changed from either team over the course of a year, Bronco coach, Jeremy Dombek, sees this as a completely different game.
“We played well a year ago in what people would, at the time, call an upset win,” he said. “It was the first time a west-side school had beaten an east-side school since the 6A split.
“Does that have any factor on this year’s ball game? I would say no. It’s a whole different scenario and two different teams. We’re playing a bit different and they’re a district champion with a lot of confidence. We’re going to have to play our best, but I really feel we’re playing our best football of the year right now.”
Here’s what to watch for on Friday.
Mustang Offense v. BA Defense
The Broncos have found rhythm offensively in the past three weeks. They were able to find continuity in the run-game against Owasso and Union and clicked on all cylinders in the pass-game at Moore.
Dombek said after the Moore win that Broken Arrow’s defense will be “by far” the best they’ve seen this year. And in order to win again on the road, in the playoffs, they have to play sound, fundamental, mistake-free football.
Mustang will likely want to control clock and tempo, especially early in the game. The game will be won in the trenches, which means Terran Daniel (Sr.) and Aaron Kinchion (Sr.) will have to have solid performances out of the backfield, as well as quarterback, Chandler Garrett (Sr.). Garrett will also have to control the option-read game to a tee and will have to limit mistakes in the pass-game.
It will come down to mistake-free, penalty-free and turnover-free football offensively if the Broncos hope to come away with a win.
Mustang Defense v. BA Offense
Dombek explained that from the tape he has seen over Broken Arrow, the Tigers are a pro-style, ground-and-pound team offensively.
Mustang is used to that style of play from recently taking on Owasso and Union.
BA will come out strong running the ball with Jamall Shaw (Sr.), who racked up over 1,500 yards rushing with 22 touchdowns in the regular season. His style of play is similar to Tyler Adkins of Union. He runs hard and is extremely tough to tackle. But with that experience at Union, Mustang’s defense understands what needs to be done to stop him. They held Adkins to under 30 yards in the second half of that game two weeks ago after he rushed for over 180 in the first half.
Linebacker play and the defensive line will be the biggest keys for Mustang defensively on Friday.
They’ve been here before and knocked off the east-side power last year. There’s no reason they can’t do it again. Like Dombek said, the Broncos are playing their best football right now and that’s dangerous at all levels. It will be close, but look for Mustang to pull out a close, defensive game.
Mustang 28, Broken Arrow 24