Mustang Bowl XI was Spectacular!
JPI– Saugerties– So many twists and turns in life come down to circumstances affected by the tick of a clock or the measurement of a ruler. For the Mustangs and Patriots on October 15 at the Jim “Killer” Davis Dandelion Patch at Grant D. Morse School, those
seconds and inches defined victory and defeat.
Trailing 25-24 with 5:30 remaining in the game, coach and QB Jaden Incalcatterra carefully orchestrated a ball-control drive setting up a final play needing only two yards to victory with 8 seconds remaining in the game. “I tried not to focus on the crowd and play the game,” said the Mustangs’ coach as the crowd’s enthusiasm created an atmosphere reserved for the Super Bowl.
The Patriots took the lead on a fourth and goal from the 25 yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Patriots’ coach Alex Mooers called timeout to decide how to approach the crucial play. Mooers and his Patriots trailed by five points and knew the Mustangs had scored on all but two possessions as Incalcaterra had complete control of his offense highlighted by his Mustang Bowl record of 259 yards on 7 carries and record tying 3 touchdowns. Mooers knew they needed points and may not see the ball again.
Mooers gathered the assistance of Jim Gage, who was an honorary captain standing for Gladys Hutton, and former Patriot Ty Gallagher in the decision making. They decided the Blue 4 X fade pass play was the best option in hopes of moving the defense away from the 4 back (Alex). Not until the game was over did Alex realize this was a fourth down, as he erroneously assumed it was third down, making the play even more remarkable. “I knew we were going for it no matter
what. It didn’t matter what down it was. We were going for 6,” he explained.
Patriots’ QB Tristan Mawyin (4-6, 2 TDs), broke the huddle called the snap on a two count and the X and Y receivers took the corners and safety to the left side while Alex took a play action fake and sprinted for the right corner of the endzone. Mawyin shook off heavy pressure from the Mustangs pass rush and tossed a perfect spiral to Mooers, all alone in the end zone.
The Patriots did not convert on the extra point but took the lead 25-24 with about five and a half minutes remaining.
The game opened up with a flurry of scoring on the first three possessions as Tristan Mawyin scored on a 65 yd TD run on a 17 sweep. Mawyin then converted on the point after touchdown by run-ning the ball off left tackle. It was the only PAT to be converted and would signify the difference in the final score. Jaden Inclacaterra outdid Mawyin on the Mustangs’ second play, taking a broken play and turning it into a 70 yd TD run down the right sideline. Fifth grader Ginger Defino broke into the Mustang Bowl history books with a couple of big gains including a 7 yd TD run for the Patriots on a 37 sweep. The first quarter ended with the Patriots leading 13-6.
Scoring twice to the Patriots one in the second quarter, the Mustangs were highlighted by an 80 yd TD run by Incal-caterra, and a 4 yd TD pass to receiver Dan MacIsaac. Between the two Mustang scores was a 63 yd pass from Mawyin to Oliver Menon who outran the Mustangs’ secondary to “paydirt.” “I ran as fast as I could, It felt really good,” said Menon who scored his first MB touchdown.
At the half, the Patriots held on to a slim 19-18 lead.
The Mustangs had the only score of the third quarter on another broken play whereby Incalcaterra was able to scamper 75 yards untouched along the players’ side-line for his third TD, tying him with Tavin Rell (MB VIII) for most TDs in a MB game.
After Mawyin hit Mooers in the end zone for the go ahead score in the fourth, the pressure mounted for both teams. “All I kept saying to the team was ‘Make stops, make stops, make stops,’” said Alex.
Incalcaterra used the short pass and outside runs to keep control of the ball by racking up first downs. Clinton Stutz-Seconds and Inches
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man, Christie Collins and Dan MacIssac were sure handed Mustangs’ receivers that kept Mooers and his defense off balance. “Runs up the middle did nothing. Our ob-jective was to get first downs and work the ball,” said Incalcaterra. It seemed that the only that could stop the Mustangs was the clock as they controlled their possession. Though the gains were minimal, they kept the chains moving.
“I was very nervous,” said Collins. “At one point I was shaking be-cause I was so nervous. It was the most exciting game I ever saw,” she added. The crowd was equally excited as the roar could be heard from “Quarryville to Toodlum.” “I didn’t notice the crowd because I was so into the game,” she explained.
The Mustangs called a timeout before their last two plays of the game. The second to last play was a QB keeper on the left side where Patriots’ John Turk made the game-saving stop at the two yard line. Following the next timeout, the Mus-tangs broke the huddle knowing it was their last play. “I switched myself to cornerback figuring he (Incalcaterra) would run it again. I knew he was watching me so I decoyed him then cheated to the side he would run, “ said Mooers.
Mooers had noticed a Mustangs tendency to alternate play directions and he gambled that the play would come back to the right.
Incalcaterra took the snap and immediately raced to the right corner of the goal line. He leaped with the ball out-stretched to cross the line, but Mooers stopped him six inches short of victory as time expired.
Incalcaterra, whose game will go down as the best offensive performance in MB history, was disappointed by the loss. Four of his seven carries came off of broken plays and netted him 3 TDs and earned him the Mr. Eymann Offensive MVP of MB XI. “It all goes to the team,” he said. “Without the blocks I couldn’t have gotten past the line of scrimmage. I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help on the field.
All in all, it was fun, I’d give it a 10 out of 10,” Jaden reflected.
Though he ran for 259 yards on 7 carries, just six more inches or a few more seconds would have changed everything