COLTON — The Huron Tigers used a bend-but-don’t break defense that forced four turnovers and made the most of the opportunities they got in the first half to break a four-game losing streak with a 27-8 win over the Tri-Valley Mustangs Friday night.
Huron will take a 3-5 record into next Thursday’s regular season finale at Mitchell, while the Mustangs fall to 2-6.
The Tigers used a big-play offense and their stout defense to control Tri-Valley for 95% of the game. One long pass play was the only blemish on the Tiger D in the game.
After both teams went three-and-out on their first possessions, where Huron’s defense held the line against the Mustangs, who got a windfall on a bobbled punt snap, Huron got the ball back on it’s own 24-yard line.
The Tigers wasted no time. After a short run from Tyson Lien, Jayden Beck took a handoff, broke a tackle, got a nice block in the secondary and hit the jets for a 74-yard run. Aung Min hit the PAT and it was 7-0 at the midway point of the first half.
Huron again forced a turnover on downs on Tri-Valley’s next possession , but were unable to capitalize on the good field possession and gave the ball back to the Mustangs.
The Tigers forced a third and long and Mustang quarterback Mason Mathieu rolled to the right and committed the sin of throwing back across the field, to a wide-open Owen Besmer, who sidestepped one Huron defender and outran the others for the score. Mathieu ran in the conversion and Tri-Valley took an 8-7 lead to the second quarter.
Huron took over for its next possession at its 20-yard line and quickly moved the ball down the field. Lien and Beck combined on two runs for a first down and then Lien hit the center of the line and bounced it outside to the left and got a gorgeous block downfield for a 58 yard gain, to the Mustang 11. A loss on a run made it second and long, when Mason Davis hit a streaking Max Kranzler in stride at the goal line for a 16-yard strike. Min’s kick made it 14-8 with less than a minute gone in the second quarter.
Lightning struck the Mustangs on the first play after the kickoff, as running back Jaden Siemonsma was mobbed by the Tiger defense and coughed up the ball, which was covered by Ryan Janes at the Tri-Valley 32.
A Lien run and a Dylan Lichty pass to Derick Siemonsma put the ball just inside the 10-yard line. From there, Beck made quick work of the final yardage, pinballing off tacklers for the touchdown and a 21-8 lead after the Min kick.
Tri-Valley got the ball back with 4:31 to play in the half and moved the ball down the field, assisted by a painful personal foul penalty against the Tigers on a fourth-and-one play where Huron took down the carrier short of the line to gain.
With new life, runs by Mathieu and Levi Hanson set it up first and goal at the Huron 20 as the clock wound down in the first half. But as the clock ran, Tri-Valley was flagged for holding on a play that would have resulted in a first down and Acer Htoo sacked Mathieu to end the half.
The teams traded possessions to open the second half, first on downs for each and then on fumbles that were recovered by their opponents, and no points were scored in the period.
Most of the second half was played on the Mustang end of the field, and the third Tri-Valley possession came back to bite them. The Mustangs were moving the ball, as the Tri-Valley coaching staff realized that its best option was to get the ball to Besmer in any way possible.
But two holding penalties turned a first down at the Tri-Valley 36-yard line into third and 33, and then Mathieu fumbled the ball and for the second time, Janes pounced on the free ball.
Huron fumbled on its first play, but fortunately recovered deep in Mustang territory. Two short runs got it back to 4th and 11, and Min laced a 30-yard field goal.
Again, Tri-Valley moved the ball on its next possession, but misfired on a fourth-down play, as the ball was snapped over Besmer’s head and rolled down to the Mustang 26-yard line. Mason Davis connected with Kranzler for a score, but the play was called back for a penalty and the drive fizzled, resulting in a Min 31-yard field goal and the final score in the game.
The Mustangs were driving again late in the final seconds, but the clock ran out on them.
Huron rolled up 298 yards in office, as Beck churned out 131 yards on the ground and Lien added 83. The quarterback combo of Dylan Lichty and Mason Davis were 6-12 through the air, for 80 yards, a touchdown and one interception.
For Tri-Valley, Bessmer carried the ball for 41 yards and was just short of 100-yards in receiving, with the lone Mustang touchdown. Siemonsma added 15 yards on the ground and Eli McFarland added 10. Combined, Mathieu and Besmer were 8-16 passing, for 133 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, by Huron’s Jonathon Hernandez and Lichty.
Huron currently sits in sixth place in the playoff power points race, one spot behind Mitchell, which adds some intrigue to the regular season finale on Thursday in Mitchell.
Huron 7 14 0 6 — 27
Tri-Valley 8 0 0 0 — 8
7:23 — Huron — Jayden Beck, 74-yard run. Aung Min PAT
1:09 — Tri-Valley — Owen Besmer, 72-yard pass from Mason Mathieu. Mathieu conversion run.
11:12 — Huron — Max Kranzler, 16-yard touchdown pass from Mason Davis. Min PAT.
9:36 — Huron — Beck, 10-yard run. Min PAT
6:57 — Huron — Min, 30-yard field goal.
2:49 — Huron — Min, 31-yard field goal