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Mustangs finish season as state runners-up

November 22, 2018

NEEDLES — The Needles High School Mustangs football season ended 13 points short of a NIAA 2A State Championship on Saturday, in a 30-18 loss to Pershing County’s Mustangs.

Needles ends as the 2A southern league champions in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. Pershing County’s boys are the champions from the northern league.

The two met on Nov. 17 at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, the first time the two teams had faced one another in two years.

Needles Coach Matt Fromelt was as reticent after the loss as he was exuberant after the win over Battle Mountain a week earlier that put his boys into the championship game. No statistics were available, the coach said.

Field reports from spectator Lyn Parker and photographer Robert Hancock indicated Pershing County was first to light up the scoreboard, with a field goal, touchdown and two-point conversion after the touchdown to end the first quarter with a 10-0 lead.

The boys from the north added another, plus a PAT kick, in the second.

Needles rallied in the second, first with a running play that saw ball carrier Dawsen Yeager fire off a throw to John Perez for a touchdown. The PAT failed. Quarterback Nathanial Parker connected with Dillon Horn to score again; that PAT also failed.

A touchdown by Marcus Turner was called back. The half ended with Pershing County leading 17-12.

“The calls didn’t go our way,” Hancock, a member of the mid-1960s CIF Champion Mustangs, observed.

Pershing continued to pile on points in the third quarter, adding a touchdown to lead 23-12, then a touchdown and field goal for a 30-12 advantage. It would be the last time they could find their way through Needles’ defense to the end zone.

Needles offense, however, wasn’t through. Parker connected again just short of halfway through the fourth, this time with Turner, to replace the touchdown score that had proved elusive the first time and bring the final score to 30-18.

“It was a beautiful field,” said Hancock, “just too bad we didn’t win. There were a lot of people from Needles there.”

Said Fromelt: “I really appreciate our 2018 Mustang football program; the assistant coaches, the players and the community. Everybody really helped out and supported us. We appreciate that.

“The kids played hard and that’s all that counts. Pershing County has a great team and they played a great game. They executed a better game plan really well.”

Needles High graduates 17 members of the 2018 Mustangs next spring. Asked what’s ahead, Fromelt said: “In our program we don’t really talk about rebuilding. We’ve just got to get the kids motivated to work out, get their academics going and be ready to contribute next season.”

Fans can next see their Mustangs during the annual fall sports awards banquet set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, in BPO Elks Lodge 1608, 1000 Lilyhill Dr.

Mustang basketball is scheduled to begin Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 with the boys’ annual road trip for non-conference tournament play in Williams, Ariz.

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