Blues Tame Mustangs, 35-12

Blues Tame Mustangs, 35-12

ABOVE RIGHT, PM running back Nick Reid hustles with the ball. Reid made an interception in the first half.

Blues Tame Mustangs, 35-12

AT NEAR RIGHT, Fighting Blue fullback Keaton Coleman finds running room as teammates block for him. Coleman rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Blues Tame Mustangs, 35-12

AT FAR RIGHT, PM running back and kicker Jacob Wootten takes the ball down the field. Wootten made an interception in the second half and converted all five of his extra point kicks. (Ronnie Coffey photos)

Blues Tame Mustangs, 35-12

ABOVE, Aided by blocking from teammates, PM running back Jeremiah Fulwider makes his way through a crowd.

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Parry McCluer Gridders ‘Peaking At The Right Time’

The Parry McCluer High School football team captured a 35-12 road win over Pioneer District foe Eastern

Montgomery 35-12 in Elliston on Friday night.

The Fighting Blues (3-6 overall, 3-1 district), who had beaten Bath County at home a week earlier, strung together consecutive victories for the first time this season.

“Last year we got things rolling around midseason and really peaked in our first game of the playoffs,” PM head coach Mark Wheeler said. “Hopefully, with us getting it together a little later in the season this year, we will peak at the right time.”

In what Wheeler said he expected to be a very even matchup, the PM offense exploded for 28 points in the second quarter and gave the Blues a comfortable lead over the Mustangs (1-8, 1-3) that they never relinquished.

PM’s offense played arguably its best game of the season, but PM also won the battle in the trenches. The defensive line of Brendon Conley, Caleb Mason, Zavery Wallace, Forrest Vassar, and Trey Orren had an outstanding game and made life extremely difficult for the Mustangs’ offense.

“Our defense has really come into its own,” Wheeler said. “Our co-defensive coordinators, Troy Clark and Rad Patterson, have been working tirelessly to get our defense where it needs to be. They have come up with some very effective strategies for our guys this year.”

Both offenses came out slow. The first quarter featured punts from both sides and finished scoreless.

After an EM punt to start the second quarter, the Blues wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Quarterback Ty Ruley ran the ball well and helped the offense power down to the 1-yard line. Orren, who regularly plays tackle for the Blues, capped the drive off with an acrobatic dive over the goal line for his first touchdown of the season.

On EM’s ensuing drive, the Mustangs went for it on fourth down from their own 37-yard line. Forrest Vassar made them pay for that decision and put a punishing blow on Mustang quarterback Adam Bahnken to force a turnover on downs.

The Blues wasted no time capitalizing, as Ruley connected with Trent Fitzgerald for a 37-yard TD on the first play of the drive to put PM ahead 14-0 after an extra point by kick by Jacob Wootten. The passing TD was the Blues’ first of the season. Ruley threw for 117 yards and two TDs on 3-of-7 passing, with one interception. He added another 102 yards rushing and a TD on 16 carries.

On the Blues’ next drive, Ruley connected with Fitzgerald again for a TD. The Mustangs’ defense bought the run fake and Ruley launched a beautiful pass to Fitzgerald, who took it 43 yards for the score.

“Ty has gotten better every week he’s been with us, and it really showed Friday night” Wheeler said. “I was so glad to see Trent catch those balls, he’s been working hard in practice and it’s finally paying off.” Fitzgerald finished the game with 85 receiving yards and two TDs on three catches.

The Mustangs put together a promising drive before halftime, but Nick Reid halted their momentum with an interception that gave PM the ball back with a chance to add to their 21-point lead.

The Blues’ put together another nice drive and Keaton Coleman, in his first game back from injury, capped the drive off with a 14-yard TD run that gave PM a 28-0 halftime lead. Coleman finished the game with 68 rushing yards and a TD on 12 carries.

The second half was more evenly matched. The Blues received the ball to start the second half, but Jeremiah

Fulwider fumbled it on the return at the PM 25-yard line and EM recovered. The Blues forced the Mustangs into third down and long, but Bahnken connected with Justin Tyree, who made an incredible catch for East. Mont.’s first score of the night. After a failed two-point conversion, PM led 28-6.

The Blues responded quickly to the Mustangs’ TD with one of their own. After a nice drive that featured runs from John Snider, Coleman and Fulwider, Ruley took it himself on a read option and ran 28 yards down the sideline for another PM TD.

The Blues’ defense tightened up and on the Mustangs’ next possession, Wootten got his first interception of the season.

PM subbed in some of its junior varsity, second-string players for the fourth quarter. EM running back Dylan Owens capped the scoring late in the game with a 23-yard run that made the final score 35-12 after another failed two-point conversion.

“This week, we were a little better than last,” Wheeler said. “We have to keep working to get better every day in practice, especially this time of the season.”

For the final game of the regular season this Friday at 7 p.m., the Blues will travel to take on undefeated Narrows (4-0 district, 9-0 overall) for a pivotal matchup. With a victory, PM would earn a share of the Pioneer District title with Narrows and Covington.

“Narrows is solid on all sides, and they seem to get better every week,” Wheeler said. “With so many weapons, we really have our work cut out for us with preparation this week. We need to watch a lot of film and find out what has worked against them.”

With playoffs on the horizon, Wheeler said the team can’t wait for postseason play. “It’s hard not to look ahead, but all of our attention has to be on Narrows right now,” he said.

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