Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

Clutch drive lifts Malta over Conrad


September 16, 2020

Mustang Juliun Benson goes up for an interception in Malta's win over Conrad last Friday. It would have been Benson's second pick had it not been negated by a penalty. Photo by DoDee Oxarart.

Despite not having the same offensive success that they had in their week one win over Roundup, the Malta Mustangs Football team was able to go 2-0 thanks to a late touchdown drive against Conrad last Friday in Conrad.

The score was 8-6 in Malta's win over Conrad. Previously the Mustangs defeated the Roundup Panthers 50-6.

"After the game was finally over, it felt good to get a conference road victory," Coach Nick Oxarart said. "Conrad is a very good opponent and they played extremely hard and were well-coached. I was really proud of our players for showing great resilience and playing hard until the end."

In the week prior, Conrad suffered a 36-8 loss to the Glasgow Scotties, but after a week, the Cowboy defense cinched things up against Malta making way for the defensive battle that ensued last Friday.

"Conrad had a great defensive scheme and had scouted us very well," Coach Oxarart said. "We made too many mistakes and had penalties at inopportune times and we cost ourselves a lot of key yardage."

The game remained scoreless throughout the first half, but eventually Conrad capitalized on a short field possession early in the third quarter. Deep in their own territory, Malta attempted to convert a fourth down rather than punt the ball. Malta's attempt fell short.

Coach Oxarart said that Conrad capitalized on his coaching mistake as Caden Huntsinger found Brady Bokma in the endzone for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Malta stopped Conrad's attempt at a two-point conversion.

Though Malta's offense had produced big plays in the third and fourth quarters, they found themselves unable to find the endzone until the last drive.

It was during this drive that Rex Williamson was able to break through for a 30-yard-run, followed by a 30-yard connection from quarterback Kooper Oxarart to running back Cash Salsbery, which set up a five-yard game-winning touchdown run from Williamson. Williamson then ran in the two-point conversion. Malta was up 8-6 with 48.1 seconds left in the game.

"Our offensive line (Beau Simonson, Parker Mortenson, Eion Estill, Pierce Mortenson, and Peyton Jones) executed really well late in the game," Coach Oxarart said.

Conrad was left with 48 seconds on the clock to respond but the game was sealed with an interception from senior defensive back Shaun Gilkerson. Prior to the interception, Parker Mortenson sacked Conrad's Huntsinger.

"We really relied on our defense all night long as they held Conrad in check most of the night," Coach Oxarart said.

He said that Simonson and the Mortenson twins made several big plays from the defensive line and that they had solid support from linebackers Salsbery and K. Oxarart.

Beau Simonson tackles a ball carrier in Malta's win over Conrad last Friday. Photo by DoDee Oxarart.

According to the team's Hudl page, the Mustangs had a total of 243 yards, with 146 yards on the ground and 97 through the air. Senior quarterback Kooper Oxarart was 6-for-16 and threw for a total of 97 yards. His longest pass was the 30-yard completion to Salsbery

Williamson led the Mustangs with 107 yards on 15 carries and two receptions for 19 yards. Salsbery had 45 rushing yards on 11 carries. He also led the team in receiving yards with a total of 50 on two carries. Jeremiah Benson had one catch for 19 yards.

Defensively, Juliun Benson and Shaun Gilkerson each had an interception.

Conrad had a total of 152 yards, 89 of which were on the ground and 63 through the air.

Malta will next see the Wolf Point Wolves as their Homecoming opponents on Friday, September 18, at 7 p.m. The game will also serve at the Malta Mustangs' home opener.


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