By Caleb Curtis
This week, the East Newton Patriots (0-7, 0-5 in the Big 8) come to town to take on the McDonald County Mustangs (4-3, 2-3 in the Big 8). The Patriots come into the Mustangs’ senior night on quite a rough patch. The Patriots have not won since October 7th of last year, producing a 9 game losing streak. The Mustangs come into the matchup after beating the Monett Cubs for the first time since 1999 by a score of 21-18.
East Newton came out on top against the Mustangs in this matchup last year in a high scoring affair (56-34). However, through these first 7 games of the season, East Newton has yet put up 56 points for the year (38 points this season). The Patriots have also given up a whopping 336 points on the year, which is 157 more points than the Mustangs have surrendered this season or more than 26 touchdowns. East Newton has also yet to stop an opponent for 35 points or less this season.
McDonald County has won 3 of the 5 meetings between the two teams since they started meeting on a yearly basis in 2012. The Mustangs have also outscored the Patriots 146-111 in those 5 meetings, averaging 29.2 points against 22.2 points. The Mustangs are also showing that they are much better on both sides of the ball. At this time last year, they had only put up 68 points (9.71 per game) and had also given up 264 (37.71 per game). This year, they are averaging 16.71 a game and are giving up 25.57 per game. A rough spot on the McDonald County offense is that the team has yet to score more than 21 points in a game this season. If McDonald County can pull out a win this week, it would put the Mustangs at 5 wins for just the fourth time in school history.
Points Per Game – McDonald County: 16.71 vs East Newton: 5.43
Points Allowed Per Game – McDonald County: 25.57 vs East Newton: 48.0
State Rank* – McDonald County: 99 vs East Newton: 281
*According to MaxPreps.com
The Mustangs and Patriots have faced 4 common opponents. Lamar, Cassville, Seneca, and Mount Vernon.
Mac County: vs Lamar(L 8-50) vs Cassville(W 21-14) vs Seneca(L 13-41) vs Mount Vernon(L 21-43)
East Newton: vs Lamar(L 0-63) vs Cassville(L 7-45) vs Seneca(L 6-36) vs Mount Vernon(L 0-54)
The Mustangs appear to have the edge in all four games between common opponents. They played closer with Lamar, beat a Cassville team that the Patriots were blown out by, had a slightly closer point margin against Seneca, and actually stayed in the ballgame against Mount Vernon.
The Bottom Line
McDonald County has a pretty clear-cut advantage in all statistical categories. However, the Mustangs cannot come into the game thinking that the game is already won because that is how you let an underdog come in and spoil senior night. If the Mustangs play this game the way they have most of this season, they will come away with their third home win of the season as well as their third conference win of the year. If the Patriots can upset the Mustangs and ruin senior night, it will be their first win in 364 days.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM at McDonald County High School.