The Mustang Broncos host the Har-Ber Wildcats of Springdale, Ark. tonight at Bronco Stadium and are looking to notch their second win while closing out non-district play.
Each team enters Week 3 coming off a loss. The Broncos fell 24-21 to Class 6A Division I-2 runner-up Deer Creek last Friday while the Wildcats were crushed 59-0 by defending 6A Division 1-2 champion Bixby.
The Wildcats will be Mustang’s first-ever out-of-state opponent. Here’s what to watch for as the two teams square off:
MUSTANG OFFENSE vs. HAR-BER DEFENSE
Mustang’s offense has totaled 1,005 yards through two games, including 527 last week against Deer Creek. The team’s passing attack has accounted for 725 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Broncos should be able to continue their torrid pace offensively, going up against a Har-Ber defense that allowed 450 yards to Bixby last week. The Spartans put up 255 yards through the air and 195 on the ground, averaging 12.8 yards per completion and 7.5 yards per rush.
Senior offensive lineman Rylan Lerma looks to the sideline for instructions during Mustang’s 24-21 loss to Deer Creek on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at Bronco Stadium. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
Watch for the Broncos to establish the ground game with seniors Jay Bedford and Pryce Burgess. Bedford leads the team with 142 rushing yards while Burgess ranks second with 54. Bedford scored the Mustang’s lone rushing touchdown last week against Deer Creek.
As always, watch for senior receivers Jacobe Johnson and Keegan Bass, who have combined for 565 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. But also look for junior LeBryan Hayes to make an impact. Hayes has 10 receptions for 105 yards so far this season and has established himself as one of the top go-to threats for senior quarterback Tristen Russell.
Russell looks to stay hot as well. The Mustang signal caller has gone 43-for-60 through two games with 723 yards and nine scores. He has also rushed for 52 yards.
MUSTANG DEFENSE v. HAR-BER OFFENSE
Mustang has allowed just 602 yards so far this season, including 270 to Southmoore in Week 1 and 332 last week to Deer Creek.
The Broncos have been ultra-efficient in stopping the run, allowing 61 yards to both the Sabercats and Antlers. Combined, the team is allowing just 1.8 yards per carry.
Junior Russell Zolicoffer was a force against Deer Creek last week, racking up six total tackles, including one for a loss. Fellow defensive end Elijah Garcia (Sr.) also played well, recording five tackles with one for a loss.
The duo, along with senior Kaden Jones and sophomore Louie Jones, should have another big night stopping the run. The Wildcats have tallied just 156 yards on the ground so far this season, including 66 yards on 23 carries last week against Bixby.
Also watch for senior linebackers Jaxon Bobbit, Hudson Conrad, and Braylon Hood-Colbert, who combined for 19 tackles last week.
The Broncos still have Johnson and Bass as kick returners, but it’s unlikely the Wildcats give either player an opportunity. Mustang has yet to kick a field goal this season and has only punted three times.
PREDICTION: MUSTANG 49, HAR-BER 10
Although Mustang didn’t win last week, the team still rolled offensively – outside of three red zone opportunities. The Broncos are also feeling salty following the loss.
Har-Ber is an unknown, but judging off last week’s beatdown from Bixby, Mustang should have no problem improving to 2-1 before the start of district play.