Sweetwater, TX – The Mustangs took the field just three days after tragedy shook the Andrews community. After maintaining a lead through three quarters, the underdog Mustangs watched Springtown rally for a 43-33 decision in the Class 4A Division I playoff game at Sweetwater’s Mustang Bowl on Monday.
The contest was originally set to be played on Friday, but that was before the Andrews ISD band bus was involved in a horrific accident outside of Big Spring on Interstate 20. Three lives, two from Andrews, would be lost in the crash. Both school districts agreed to postpone the game until this afternoon. With emotions running high, the Mustangs stepped onto the field with overwhelming support.
Andrews opened the game with a methodical drive that landed inside the Porcupine redzone but failed to convert a 4th-and-1 on the 17. The Mustang defense forced a three-and-out resulting in the second drive starting near midfield. The second set of downs produced the game’s first points when Julian Mancillas hammered a 37-yard field goal through the uprights for a 3-0 lead.
Springtown tried to match that with a sustaining drive of its own but missed a 32-yard attempt. Andrews took over and drove down the field to add the first touchdown. Quarterback E.J. Lopez connected with Shawn Parker on a 28-yard TD strike for a 10-0 first quarter lead.
Following a Mustangs fumble, it would take all of three plays for Pojo to narrow the deficit to three on a 14-yard TD run by Matthew Lockard. Sparks would fly as both teams went to the air to exchange touchdown passes to cap off scoring drives in the second stanza. Luis Cervantes hauled in a 29-yarder for Andrews before Aiden Vickers added his 48-yard reception for Springtown to again trail by a field goal.
The Porcupines were poised to take their first lead after intercepting a Mustangs pass, but turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert a 4th-and-2 on the Andrews 13-yard line. The Black-and-Gold held on to a 17-14 advantage that would send the teams into the intermission break.
While not dressed to perform at halftime, many of the Andrews marching band members were in attendance as the Sweetwater and Big Spring ISD bands came together to step in for their fellow musicians. The commemorative halftime was a heartfelt unity of West Texas communities coming together with a tribute to the late band director and driver of the bus, who was also the team statistician. Both were lost in Friday’s collision.
After the Mustang defense forced a Porcupine punt to open the third quarter, the second half became a heavyweight slugfest. Setting up shop near midfield, Andrews worked its way down the field but had to settle with a 31-yard field goal to cap a 7-play scoring effort. Springtown uncorked back-to-back big plays that included a 32-yard pass to setup a 35-yard TD run by Lockard. Pojo took its first lead of the game at 21-20. Andrews was able to respond and retake the lead on a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive with Ashton Galvan securing a 10-yard pass from Lopez. A two-point conversion failed but the Mustangs owned the 26-21 edge to close out the third frame.
The haymakers continued into the fourth quarter. Lockard rambled 62 yards for his third trip across the goal line. A two-point conversion pushed the Pojo advantage to three points. Back came Andrews. Lopez found Brock Tijerina in the back of the endzone for a 17-yard strike to complete a 4-play drive and give the Mustangs a 33-29 lead. The exchange continued and another lead change would follow. A 36-yard TD reception would give Springtown a 36-33 advantage midway into the final 12 minutes.
On the ensuing kickoff, a fumbled return proved costly as the Porcupines came up with the ball on the Mustangs’ 32. Three plays later, an 8-yard touchdown run by Hudson Hulett extended the Springtown lead to 43-33 with a little over five minutes remaining in the ballgame. An intercepted pass on Andrews’ next set of downs sealed the win for Pojo.
Lopez threw for 200 yards and added 19 rushing yards while accounting for four Mustang touchdowns. Tijerina rushed for 91 yards on 15 carries and had two catches for 21, including a touchdown. Cervantes finished with 14 touches for 53 yards rushing and caught two passes for 35 yards and a score. Manuel Rojo had five catches for 57 yards, and Parker donated another 48 yards from three receptions including the game’s first touchdown.
Andrews ends its season as Bi-District Champions and state Area Finalists. The Mustangs are to be commended for taking the field and putting on the performance they did after all that has just happened. Mad Respect to these young men. #AndrewsStrong
AND – Julian Mancillas 37 FG, 6:00
AND – Shawn Parker 28 pass from EJ Lopez (Mancillas kick), 1:07
SPR – Matthew Lockard 14 run (Logan Heaton kick), 9:28
AND – Luis Cervantes 29 pass from Lopez (Mancillas kick), 6:47
SPR – Aiden Vickers 48 pass from H Hulett (Heaton kick), 3:41
AND – Mancillas 31 FG, 7:42
SPR – Lockard 35 run (Heaton kick), 6:42
AND – Ashton Galvan 10 pass from Lopez (run failed), 1:45
SPR – Lockard 62 run (Speck Behle run), 11:50
AND – Brock Tijerina 17 pass from Lopez (Mancillas kick), 9:50
SPR – Vickers 36 pass from Hulett (Heaton kick), 7:30
SPR – Hulett 8 run (Heaton kick), 5:37
|SPORTZ GAME STATS|
| First Downs
|C – A – I||17-27-2||9-19-0|