Season ends for Mustangs in Manhattan
November 11, 2020
The Malta Mustang Football team's 2020 campaign came to an end on Saturday, November 7, at the team fell 50-0 to the Manhattan Tigers in Manhattan.
"The 2020 Mustangs had a great season and I'm extremely proud of the success they were able to achieve," Mustangs Head Coach Nick Oxarart said. "They worked hard, prepared well, and were a lot of fun to coach."
The Mustangs ended their season 6-2 (two games were canceled in 2020). The team only lost to Fairfield and Manhattan, who are each still playing in the State B Football Tournament.
"I felt we were a team that kept getting better each week," Coach Oxarart said. "We ran into a very tough quarter-final matchup and our season was cut a little shorter than we would've liked but overall this will be a season we will look back on with fond memories."
The Mustangs, a run-first team, was led by a strong cast of running backs which included Cash Salsbery, Rex Williamson, Darrow Messerly, Shawn Gilkerson, wide receiver Juliun Benson and quarterback Kooper Oxarart.
"All had success running behind our offensive line consisting of Dwight Werk, Pierce Mortenson, Parker Mortenson, Beau Simonson, Peyton Jones and Eion Estill," Coach Oxarart said. "These guys worked hard to learn their blocking assignments and opened up big holes for our running backs and quarterback to run through."
Coach Oxarart spoke highly of his senior quarterback, Kooper Oxarart, who he said ran the team's offense extremely well behind an offensive line that provided K. Oxarart time to make plays down the field, according to Coach Oxarart.
"We ask a lot out of our quarterbacks in terms of learning all the intricacies of our timing and misdirection plays along with our play-action pass game," Coach Oxarart said. "I'm really proud of how Kooper kept getting better each week and was playing his best at the end of the season."
Early injuries played a large role in Malta's 50-0 defeat by Manhattan. The injuries have rattled parents and coaches around the area via social media posts. Coach Oxarart said that the injuries affected the team on both sides of the ball. Cash Salsbery suffered a knee injury after sustaining a low hit by a Manhattan defender and was unable to return.
"He was a huge part of our game plan because of the great football player that he is," Coach Oxarart said of Salsbery.
Quarterback Kooper Oxarart left the game early because of an ankle injury due to another low hit but was able to return and "play through the pain," according to Coach Oxarart.
"Unfortunately injuries can be a part of the game and it is really difficult to battle through the adversity," Coach Oxarart continued. "We had a few turnovers that didn't help us out and the score kind of snowballed on us and that's the way things go sometimes. I was proud of how our team battled the rest of the game and played with class."
He also said that being able to keep a positive attitude in the face of adversity is what makes the Mustangs winners and that they will take that mentality with them after their time in high school.