The Breck Mustangs took the lead into halftime of their opening night game against Columbia Heights but needed a clutch drive late in the game and a big-time defensive play to seal the victory to hold off the Hylanders and come out with a 30-20 home victory. Here are some of the top performers from the Mustangs’ opening night victory.
There is little doubt senior David Roddy is not only one of the top football players in the state, but he is also one of the best all-around athletes in Minnesota. Roddy plays both ways and had a huge impact on both sides of the ball. At quarterback, he had an inconsistent start but ended up putting up significant numbers. The 6’5″245-pound quarterback showed all the skills of a big-time player. As the game progressed, he showed touch on the underneath throws while also showing a strong arm like on his eight-yard touchdown pass. He made three or four plays with his legs that while didn’t amount to much on the stat sheet, got his team out of bad situations. His most impressive run – during which he made multiple guys miss while running over another – only gained five yards but could have resulted in a ten-yard loss.
Roddy played about two-thirds of the defensive snaps at defensive end and showed skill on that side of the ball too. Roddy and defensive tackle Jack Schauer ran a line stunt. Schauer got pressure on the quarterback and Roddy got in the air to bat down the ball. Roddy’s most impressive play of the game was a play he created on his own.
With Columbia Heights down three late in the fourth quarter, Roddy made sure there would be no comeback. The quarterback threw a pass into the flat, but Roddy saw it coming from his defensive end spot and made a one-handed interception that he returned twenty yards for the touchdown giving his team a 30-20 lead.
Roddy had plenty of help during the victory.
In addition to Schauer’s pressure off the line twist with Roddy, he was a problem much of the day on the inside. At least two times he got penetration into the backfield to stop inside runs.
Peter Fadlovich was also an impact player on the defensive line. Pass rushing, Fadlovich ran the quarterback down from behind for a sack. He was on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage more than once. One of his more impressive plays was when Columbia Heights tried to run a counter, but Fadlovich’s penetration resulted in a five-yard loss. He also impressed on the offensive side of the ball – particularly with his seal block on the outside to spring his running back for a big gain.
Like his quarterback, Sam Shin was an impact player on both sides of the ball. His block sprung a teammate for a long gain. On the defensive side of the ball, he got penetration to force the runner into a group of teammates for a short gain and later did the same thing re-directing the running into Schauer for no gain.
On the second level, Alex McKenna had an impressive game. On a busted play, the linebacker got into the backfield and dropped the running back for a ten-yard loss. Later he kept contain on the outside, and as the runner cut upfield, McKenna got off his block and made the tackle for a short gain.
Offensively – filling in for one play for Roddy – he threw a strike over the middle on fourth down. At receiver, he caught a slant and took a tough hit. He held on to the ball, broke two tackles and picked up extra yardage.
Receiver, defensive back and punt returner Elijah Zackery did a bit of everything. He had about the best ten-yard punt return you will see all year. He was hit right after catching the ball but was able to break the tackle and then make a couple of moves in tight for the nice return. He made something out of nothing on the offensive side of the ball too. He ran an end-around that was defended well, but Zackery cut it up and picked up positive yards. He got deep against single coverage and was on the receiving end of the 80-yard touchdown pass. During the final touchdown drive caught a shot hitch for a first down and scored the game-winning on a straight fly pattern – beating one on one coverage. The game was all but over, but he caught one more pass in a clock-killing drive where he turned a swing pass into a big gain going sideline to sideline. Defensively he also jumped a post route and knocked down a pass,
Running back Derek Turner ran behind Shin and Fadlovich for a nice gain. Then Turner broke a tackle after Tommy Ryks, Schauer and Cole Helgaas opened a hole. Turner used footwork to avoid some penetration and get up a hole that Schauer and Helgaas again opened. Defensively Turner wasn’t tested much, but he had tight, one on one coverage underneath at corner. Then Columbia Heights tried to go deep on him twice and was stride for stride with the receiver both times with nowhere to put the ball.
Ethan Guell was also active on the outside – on offense and defense. Offensively, he beat the corner clean off the line and caught a 38-yard touchdown. Later the senior grabbed a pass in the flat, made a move and used his speed to get upfield for 30-yards. On the game-winning drive, he caught a pass in the flat, made three guys miss and picked up 25-yards. On defense, he read a screen pass and made an open field tackle for a short gain. On special teams, he returned a kickoff to midfield by making a pair of moves on the sidelines to avoid tacklers.
Peter Mesna also made plays on the outside. He went up high to pull down a pass then broke a tackle to pick up a first down. On the game-winning drive, he caught a deep in route for ten yards.
The 1-0 Breck Mustangs play Minneapolis South later this week.