The improvement of the Smoky Mountain Mustangs football team was obvious on Friday at East Henderson when they took control of a football game against a team that capitalized on Pisgah mistakes a couple of weeks ago and upset the favored Black Bears in that game. After each team was forced to punt the ball away on their first possession the Mustangs took control in their second possession and capped a 64 yard drive with a three yard power run by Will Frady to give the Mustangs their first touchdown with 6:22 to play in the opening quarter. The PAT made it 7 to 0. The Eagles fumbled on their second play giving the Mustangs the ball at the 37 yard line. The Mustangs capped this scoring drive with a 33 yard pass from Nate Coffee to Dustin Stevens to take a 14 to 0 lead with 3:23 to play in the half. East Henderson battled back to cut the margin to 14 to 7 with 51 seconds to go in the quarter. The defenses for both teams tightened up for much of the quarter till the Hemphill found Shipman for a 17 yard pass to allow the Eagles to tie the score at 14 with 4:21 to play in the half. The Mustangs got another great return by Dustin Stevens who returned the kickoff 55 yards then got fifteen more yards tacked on after a face mask penalty. Starting with a short field the Mustangs mixed up the running game between Cyrus Lanning and Will Frady with Frady getting into the end zone Yanez made it 21 to 14 Mustangs. The Eagles launch a massive 71 yard scoring drive in two plays to tie the game at 21 with under a minute to play in the half. The Eagles came out to play in the third quarter after the homecoming activities with the quarterback Hemphill carrying the ball for 63 yards including a two yard dive for the score. The Mustangs pressured the try for the point after the touchdown and the kick failed after a low snap to the holder. This was the Eagles first and only lead in the game at 27 to 21. The Mustangs defense held the Eagles on a couple of drives and East Henderson’s defense sacked Nate Coffee twice in the third before the Mustangs pushed the ball to the one yard line. Three plays and the Mustangs were an inch from the goal line after seeing hand raised for a touchdown by one official then seeing the score nullified by a different official. On fourth down the Mustangs brought every one in tight and coffee followed the pile-up into the end zone for the score. The successful PAT gave the Mustangs a 28 to 27 point lead. With 7:34 to play in the game Tanner Norman intercepted a Hemphill pass to set up the Mustangs for a dominating drive to the end zone where a six yard run by Will Frady and the point after the touchdown was missed but the Mustangs led to 34 to 27. The Eagles realized they were in a jam and tried to pass for big yardage plays only to see another Hemphill pass picked by Curtis Lanning and returned for 30 yards. Two plays later Coffee found Lominac for a 22 yard completion and the PAT was successful to give the Mustangs a 41 to 27 point lead with 2:04 to play. After The Eagles were pushed back to the 15 after being penalized for a chop block, the Mustangs charged the line and sacked Hemphill at the nine then knocked away Hemphill’s pass to bring up fourth down. The Mustangs got to take the victory formation for the second week in a row and celebrated a 41 to 27 point win at East Henderson.
Franklin leads the conference with a 10 and 0 record and 4 and 0 in the conference. They are followed by Hendersonville who is now 3 and 1. The Mustangs moved into third place with a 2 and 2 conference mark followed by Brevard, Pisgah, and East Henderson who are all 1 and 3. The Mustangs will host Franklin on Friday night. A Panthers loss would give Hendersonville a share of the conference crown should they beat East Henderson on Thursday night in the TV Game.