The Salina Central Mustang football team dropped to 0-2 after a 45-42 overtime loss to the Eisenhower Tigers at Goddard District Stadium. While the record is not ideal, no one can say the Mustangs haven’t provided some entertainment in the first two weeks of the season.
Coming off last week’s home loss to Campus, Central could not have started this contest any better than they did. First, an 84 yard drive in less than two minutes that was capped by a Parker Kavanagh touchdown pass to Hayden Vidricksen. After a defensive stop, the Mustangs marched 90 yards and Micah Moore rumbled into the endzone from four yards out to give Central a 14-0 lead.
Moments later, Nick Clayton scooped up an Eisenhower fumble and took it to the house from 35 yards out while the Tigers thought the ball was dead. It was not, and Central led 21-0 late in the first quarter.
Then, the Tigers were awoken. They quickly made their way downfield and Eisenhower quarterback Nick Hogan threw a 9 yard TD pass to Cade Friend on the first play of the second quarter.
The Mustangs had to give the ball up for the first time and the Tigers got another Hogan to Friend touchdown connection to close within seven with 6:46 left in the second quarter.
Late in the first half, the Tigers drew even with a defensive score of their own. Cody Hauser picked off a Kavanagh pass and eluded Mustangs to a 45-yard touchdown return. With 1:52 left before the break, Eisenhower had come back to tie the game at 21.
The Mustangs were not deterred, as they came alive again on offense. On 3rd and 14, Logan Losey made an incredible one-handed catch for 25 yards that eventually set up an eight-yard TD pass from Kavanagh to Ezavyar Jackson. An unsuccessful PAT left the halftime score at 27-21 in favor of Central.
The big second quarter from Eisenhower carried over into the second half. With 6:46 left in the third, the Tigers took their first lead as fullback Cody Hawks scored from a yard out and the PAT made it 28-27 Eisenhower.
The Mustang offense struggled to get going and turned the ball over on downs at their own 35, giving the Tigers a short field. But the Central defense stepped up to force a punt. However, the Eisenhower defense got to Kavanagh and recovered a fumble at the one yard line. Hawks rumbled across the goal line on the next play for a 34-27 lead. The ensuing PAT was mishandled by the holder and the Tigers were flagged for taunting. Thus, they had to kick off from the 25, and the Mustang blockers formed a lane for Losey who took the ball 70 yards to the Eisenhower 9. On the next play, Moore scampered to the endzone on a draw play and the PAT tied the game at 34.
Eisenhower would shake that off and come right back with another score as Hawks took it in from two yards out to give the hosts the lead back. The Mustangs jumped offsides on the PAT, so with the ball moved up half the distance to the goal, the Tigers went for two and once again handed the ball to Hawks who crossed the goal line once more and Eisenhower took a 42-34 lead.
Both teams missed opportunities offensively in the fourth quarter to change the score. With just under four minutes to go, the Tigers lined up for a 37-yard field goal attempt. But Dakota Hogan came in unimpeded and snuffed out the kick to keep the Mustangs alive.
Central mounted a drive and Kavanagh found the endzone on a keeper to make it 42-40. After each side burned a timeout, Kavanagh found Kenyon McMillan in the flat for the two-point conversion to tie the game with 51 seconds left.
On the ensuing drive, Hogan threw three incomplete passes and a Losey punt return set the Mustangs up at the Eisenhower 22 with 11 seconds left. After a short pass to Moore for four yards, Mac Hemmer came out for a winning field goal attempt from 34 yards. But the snap and hold were not in sync and the kick was not attempted as time expired.
Going to the overtime, the Tigers won the toss and the Mustangs went on offense first. On 4th and goal from the 4, Kavanagh’s run up the middle was stopped at the one. All Eisenhower needed was a score of any kind. The Mustang defense stepped up to force a field goal attempt, but this time the Tigers converted as Carlos Vidrio split the uprights from 21 yards out to end the three and a half hour contest.
Central won the yardage battle 383-309 but three turnovers loomed large, though Eisenhower gave it away twice as well. Kavanagh was 27-40 for 298 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Moore ran for 52 yards and two scores.
The Mustangs stay on the road next week, this time heading to Andover to play the Trojans.