After waiting out a near three-hour rainstorm, the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs proved to be a group of tough mudders, grinding out more than 200 rushing yards en route to a season opening 24-8 victory over Class 5A Chilton County on Friday night inside the friendly confines of Foshee-Henderson Stadium.
“The conditions were sloppy, so we ran the ball a little more than we wanted to do (Friday night),” Mustangs coach Brian Bradford said. “With the weather and a first-year quarterback, we wanted to be a little more conservative and let him be comfortable.”
Andrew Rines, the aforementioned first-year signal-caller, didn’t let the tender turf stop him as he fielded a sloppy snap and raced 24 yards through the Tiger secondary and into the end zone for the touchdown.
With the point after sailing through the uprights, the Mustangs pushed ahead 7-0 and kept the momentum in their favor during the first half.
While Rines managed the offense, it was running back Tray Duncan who carried the load, running for 179 yards and a score.
“He’s a man out there,” Bradford said.
After a 30-yard field goal pushed their lead to 10-0, Stanhope added six more to the tally when Duncan broke free on a 71-yard sprint into the end zone. After taking the handoff from Rines, he broke through the Tigers defense and then outran the secondary for the score.
The point after, again, was true and the score blossomed to 17-0.
“They really knocked us off track in that first half,” Tigers coach Tal Morrisson said. “But we didn’t help out any. We had some dropped passes and have a young offensive line that is still jelling. Hats off to coach Bradford and his bunch; they played well (Friday night).”
Following a 15-yard personal foul on a Tigers defender, the Mustangs added their final score of the night with 1:30 left in the half.
Passing for both teams proved to be at a premium as expected with the field and the conditions what they were. But it was a 25-yard touchdown pass from Rines to Connor Bradford that accounted for the final Mustangs score.
The two hooked up after a personal foul penalty led to a 20-yard Mustang gain.
Following the extra point, the Mustangs took a 24-0 lead into the intermission.
With a more stable surface, the second half allowed the visiting Tigers to take advantage of their wide-open offense.
After mustering an anemic 27 yards total in the first half, the Tigers went to work in the third quarter and threatened before ultimately turning it over.
They finally put points on the board with 1:15 left to go in the third.