It’s a big week for the McDonald County Mustangs, as Friday they’ll host the Nevada Tigers in a bid to win their homecoming game.
The Tigers went 0-10 last year, but this season has been a turning point for the program.
Kellen Hoover, McDonald County head coach, says, “They’re a great opponent, they’re a physical opponent. We’re gonna have to play really well on Friday. They wanna run the football at you, they’re gonna throw it just enough to keep you honest. It plays off of their running game.”
Part of the rebuilding process for Nevada is being able to perform in high-pressure situations, particularly on the road, which the team has struggled with in recent weeks.
Wes Beachler, Nevada head coach, says, “You don’t play very well on the road once in a while to start games, you learn from that and this team will do that. I expect them to have a much better performance this week on the road than we have in previous weeks.”
Though Nevada has something to prove, McDonald County does as well, and it doesn’t stop with their big win over Lamar earlier in the season.
Bailey Lewis, McDonald County senior running back, says, “We’ve shown that this year we can hang with anyone, because if they try to shut me down in the run game, we can pass it off to the receivers.”
At the end of the day, this will be a battle between two programs vying to find new life, energized by cultures that have been in development for years.
Beachler says, “They bought into the program, they bought in to the way we do things, and the attendance, the enthusiasm, they way we want practice to go, the focus we want in games.”
Hoover says, “They’ve seen all four years of me and the rest of our staff instilling our vision. They’re starting to take on the culture of the family we want our program to be.”