Big third quarter pushes Cards past Mustangs

A 29-point third quarter broke open a close game and propelled Bangor to a 51-7 thumping of Melrose-Mindoro in nonconference football action at Bangor High School Thursday night.
The Cardinals, winners of 25 straight regular-season games, struggled offensively in the first half, but came out with a vengeance in the second half of the season opener for both teams.
“We didn’t quite execute like we needed to in the first half. We knew it was going to be a dogfight – it’s always been that way with Melrose-Mindoro,” said Bangor head coach Rick Muellenberg.
“I’m happy we kept our composure. I’m happy that, mentally, we rebounded in the second half,” he continued. “We talked at the half. We were not playing up to our capabilities. We made too many mental mistakes.”
Bangor jumped out to an early lead, when quarterback Drew Johnson scored on a 13-yard run with two minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Johnson then hit Theo Muellenberg in the flat to complete the two-point conversion and put Bangor on top 8-0.
The Mustangs answered with nine minutes left in the second quarter with a three-yard touchdown run and an extra point to cut the deficit to 8-7.
The Cards made good on their next drive, taking a 16-7 lead into the half after a one-yard touchdown run by Muellenberg and a two-point conversion run by Johnson.
It was all Bangor in the second half, as the Cardinals rattled off 29 points in the third quarter and tacked on a fourth-quarter score to coast to the win.
Johnson started the second-half onslaught with a 10-yard touchdown run just three minutes into the second half.
Cade Amborn picked off a Mustang pass and returned nine yards for a touchdown just over a minute later to extend the Bangor advantage to 30-7 with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
Carter Horstman scored on a three-yard run midway through the second frame and Bangor tacked on a safety with 4:10 left in the frame to give the Cardinal gridders a 38-6 cushion.
Ethan Jacobsen wrapped up Bangor’s third-quarter outburst with an eight-yard touchdown run and a Caleb Miedema extra point gave the Cards a 45-7 lead.
Trevor Jones tacked on a 50-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to increase Bangor’s lead to 51-7.
‘I’ve got to give credit to our guys in the second half. We didn’t give up a first down in the second half,” offered Muellenberg.
“I’m proud of the way we came out. We didn’t get caught out of position in the second half,” he continued. “I think it’s a huge win for us because it’s against a quality opponent. Melrose-Mindoro has won the Dairyland Conference three years in a row and they’ve been in the playoffs nine years in a row.”
Bangor finished with 341 yards on offense, including 329 on the ground, while the Mustangs gained just 121 yards, 81 of which came through the air.
Luke Reader led Bangor’s rushing attack with 110 yards on 12 carries, while Jones picked up 57 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
In addition, Johnson carried the ball eight times for 47 yards and two touchdowns, Horstman had 10 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown, Ethan Jacobson had five carries for 31 yards and a touchdown and Muellenberg finished with 14 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Johnson completed one pass to Muellenberg for 12 yards.
The Cardinals are back in action Friday, when they travel to Loyal for a 7 p.m. nonconference contest.

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