Hughes Springs outlast Daingerfield, 30-23

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HUGHES SPRINGS -- August 31 was a special night for Hughes Springs for many reasons but for one man, it was the chance of a lifetime. Justin, “Double J” Myrick got the Hughes Springs crowd and team fired up and sparked the team to a win, beating their rival Daingerfield 30-23, and starting the season on a high note.

Double J, brought in the hammer, normally carried by a senior varsity football player, but it was his night and he delivered. He was able to take a handoff from the quarterback and rumbled in for the score, a highlight for everyone in the stands.

Once the game officially started, Hughes Springs received the opening kickoff and scored, taking a quick 8-0 lead. Before you knew it, the Mustangs were up 16-0 and Daingerfield was left stunned.

With Hughes Springs running the vaunted Slot-T offense, the Mustangs seemed to be like a well-oiled machine. The Mustangs were led on the ground by junior Bryce Johnston, who had 84 yards on 6 carries. He also had 2 touchdowns, and did most of his damage in the second half of the contest. When it seemed most of the players on the field were worn down, Johnston was fresh and it was evident by the way he slashed and dashed by the Tiger defenders. Johnston was joined in the ground and pound attack by Isaiah Bolden, Tradarian Craver, and Tra’s nephew, Ja-Kobi Craver.

Bolden had 62 yards on 14 carries, and also found his way into the end zone twice, to match Johnston.

JaKobi was money off the end all night for the Mustangs and only needed four touches to add 83 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Tradarian, the elder statesmen of the Cravers, found most of his running between the tackles and churned up the hard yards. He registered 78 yards on 13 carries.

At halftime, the Mustangs were up 16-0 and seemingly in control. But the Tigers came out and started to make things interesting. First scoring and then kicking an extra point, the Hughes Springs lead narrowed to 16-7 in the third quarter. Another score, followed by a two point conversion made it even tighter at 16-15.

The fourth quarter came around and the Hughes Springs faithful started to grip their seats a little tighter. The game became interesting when Hughes Springs scored to go up 24-15, thinking they could breathe a little easier. Daingerfield would have none of that and quickly scored to draw closer again, this time 24-23 with about 6 minutes left in the game.

This is where Mr. Johnston showed his prowess. He took a simple handoff to the left side of the formation and sprinted 54 yards for the touchdown, and gave the Mustangs the cushion they needed to seal the win. Going up 30-23, the Tigers still had a chance but a fourth down pass was short and almost intercepted by Triston Hickey before falling to the ground. Hughes Springs was then able to run out the clock, and start the season off on a high note.

Star performers on the night for the Mustangs on offense, were of course, Bolden, both the Cravers, and Johnston, but sophomore signal caller Andrew Gaul deserved kudos as well. Gaul directed the Mustang offense for a season opening 323 yards of offense.

On defense, Hunter Brabham, Harrison Reagan and Chandler King led the way. No official stats were available at press time, but most of the night, Brabham and Reagan were having their names called by the public address announcer for making big plays.

Not to be outdone, Bolden and Gaul were big on the defensive side of the ball. All in all, most Mustang players play both ways, and did an amazing job, dealing with the heat and muscle cramps. These young men showed their hearts and played a brand of football that the whole town can be proud of.

Daingerfield also can be counted on to always be a tough competitor, winning many state championships in the past 10-20 years. High school football cannot be mentioned without stating the town of Daingerfield and the Tiger football team.

The community came together for a great start to the football season, and everyone should be proud that football is done the right way in both towns.

So, hats off to the Tigers and Mustangs. Well done.

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