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Mullen Stampedes Past Lakewood

by: Aaron Montgomery, Athletic Intern
There is an old adage that has lived in the ranks of gridiron brain trusts for a long time, and as the saying goes, defense wins championships.  In this day of fast and wide-open offenses, oftentimes that is where the focus lies and where the stars tend to show out, but it is something to behold when one gets to witness the dominance and complete beatdown by a salty-dog defense.  On Friday afternoon at Jeffco Stadium, Mullen unleashed an immovable force against the Tigers which, pretty much, put the game out of reach by intermission. 
Lakewood won the toss and elected to receive.  After the Mullen kick, Lakewood began their first possession at their own 30-yard line.  They then proceeded to march down the field in ominous fashion as if this was going to be their game to win, and they were going to get busy winning it from the get-go.  Their initial excursion resulted in a 12-play drive comprising 51-yards with a step in the Red Zone, but there it ended on the Mullen 19-yard line with an incomplete pass on 4th and 7.  That was their chance for the half, and they came away with no points.
With the turnover on downs, Mullen gladly set their sights on the 81-yards between them and pay dirt.  The offense, however, could not establish any traction and went three and out punting the ball back to the Tigers who started their second possession at their own 36-yard line.  It was here that the Salty Dogs awoke.  The Tigers, on their next four possessions, went three and out, and on their fifth possession mustered one first down to go four and out.  The dominance was fierce as the Tigers tried to run the ball and were swarmed under the mass of defenders pursuing the ball, and there were several occasions where Lakewood receivers were separated from the ball by thundering hits by a backer or two or a heat-seeking defensive back.  The hard hits were plentiful, and they seemed to wake the resting offense from its brief slumber.
On its second possession, Mullen took over after a Lakewood punt and interference call.  This put them on their own 22-yard line.  From there it took the Mustang offense only six plays to traverse the 78-yards with the last 48 of it coming on a pass to junior TE, Brennan Weaver, who took a swing pass, split two defenders, and raced to the end zone for Mullen’s first score.  This type of play by Weaver is becoming a common occurrence.  The point after was good, and the Mustangs were up 7 – 0 with a lot more to come.
After another Lakewood three and out and short punt, Mullen took over at the Lakewood 35-yard line with pay dirt in full view.  It took them eight plays to cover the short field and found the end zone on freshman Montrey “Money” Lewis, Jr. 's 5-yard touchdown run.  Again, the PAT was good, and Mullen was up 14 – 0.  The only thing slowing the Mullen offense on that drive was the quarter-break.   

Mullen regained possession on their own 48-yard line after another three and out by the Mustang’s stingy defense.  The offense wasted little time finding the end zone with a balance of runs and passes to span the 52-yards and scored on a 28-yard strike from freshman quarterback Koa Dietrich to senior Jordan Leslie.  The point after was blocked, and the Mustangs were up 20 – 0 as the first half came to a close.  

Mullen had the option starting the second half and elected to receive.  Junior Sonny Dontati caught the Lakewood kickoff at the 5-yard line, and 95-yards later was standing in the end zone for another Mustang score.  The PAT was good, and Mullen led 27-0.  On the ensuing kickoff, Lakewood found some rhythm on offense and put together a 16-play drive that covered 44-yards before they had to give the ball back to Mullen on downs at the Mullen 31-yard line.  Mullen, unable to overcome a holding and short sack, punted the ball back to Lakewood who took over at the Tiger 28-yard line.  Four plays later Lakewood was forced to punt, but on the line drive kick, Mullen muffed the catch at the line of scrimmage, and Lakewood recovered with a new set of downs at their own 29-yard line.  On third and four at the Lakewood 34-yard line, the quarterback threw down field, and senior Jordan Leslie stepped in front of the pass and returned the pick 40-yards for the score.  The PAT was good, and Mullen was comfortably ahead, 34-0.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Mustang defense surrendered a touchdown to the Tigers to upend the shutout, 34-6.  On the very next possession, Mullen would drive the ball on a short field after a kick-return back to the Lakewood 32-yard line.  Eight plays later sophomore quarterback Blitz McCarty linked up with his big target, sophomore Mason Bonner, for a final and back breaking touchdown. The final score of the game was Mullen 41 and Lakewood 6.

With the victory, Mullen evened its record at 2 – 2.  Now they focus their attention to Friday night at Mullen’s very own De La Salle Stadium when they take on the 2nd-ranked Pine Creek Eagles at 7:00 PM.