NORMAN – Rylan Lerma and the Mustang Broncos knew it was time to regroup and revert to the basics following the team’s first district loss last week.
“That’s what got us to where we were before we played Union,” the senior offensive lineman and team captain said following a 49-10 blowout win over the Norman Tigers Thursday night at Harve Collins Stadium.
“I think our preparation and not taking the opponent lightly was the key,” he added. “It started with Monday lift and meetings and from there we didn’t skip a beat.”
Mustang (6-2, 4-1) wasted no time in trouncing the Tigers, exploding for 42 points in the first half – sparked immediately by a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tristen Russell (Sr.) to Oklahoma-commit Jacobe Johnson (Sr.) on the team’s third offensive play.
The Broncos, who elected to kick short the entire game, recovered the ensuing kickoff and followed with a 32-yard drive – capped by a seven-yard score from running back Jay Bedford (Sr.) for a 14-0 advantage.
“We were able to keep that trust in each other,” Lerma said. “And we stayed focused from the start.”
Austin Reed (Sr.), Rylan Lerma (Sr.), Tristen Russell (Sr.), Conley Matthews (Sr.), and Shamus Leeper (Sr.) pose for a photo following Mustang’s 49-10 win over Norman on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, at Harve Collin Stadium. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
Norman kicker Sam Hernandez closed the first quarter with a 22-yard field goal, but 28 unanswered points from Mustang in the second quarter ultimately sealed the game.
Russell, who went 11-for-18 for 297 yards, connected on three touchdown passes in the second, including a 33-yard strike to Johnson on the first play out of the break.
After recovering a fumbled punt attempt on Norman’s next possession, the Broncos made it 28-3 with a three-yard touchdown run from backup quarterback Trajan Williamson (So.).
Mustang finished the half with a pair of touchdown strikes from Russell to Air Force-commit Keegan Bass (Sr.). The first – a 37-yard hookup – extended the lead to 35-3 before a 28-yarder made it 42-3.
Bass and Johnson combined for seven catches for 188 yards and four scores. Bedford led the team with 71 rushing yards while Pryce Burgess (Sr.) added 37.
Jaden Johnson (Fr.) caught Russell’s fifth touchdown pass in the third quarter, a 63-yard strike to ice the game at 49-10. Johnson’s first touchdown reception of the season followed Norman’s lone score – a 12-yard pass from Tias McClarty to Max Wilson.
Mustang’s defense, which was stellar in a rebound performance, allowed just 118 total yards, including 19 to McClarty, who averages just over 100 per game.
It was a vast difference from last year’s matchup where the Broncos gave up 62 points in a shootout loss.
Defensive tackle Kaden Jones (Sr.), who sacked McClarty twice, said the key to stopping the Tigers this year was more mental than physical.
“It was just about doing your job and not someone else’s,” he said. “Getting beat last year emphasized that. We stayed locked in and focused and showed that we are the better team this time.”
The Broncos gave up just three passing yards and held the Tigers to 1-for-8 on third down.
Defensive end Elijah Garcia (Sr.) finished with two sacks while linebackers Jaxon Bobbitt and Braylon Hood-Colbert (Sr.) each recorded one.
Mustang now shifts its focus to Edmond North next week and looks to take another step toward locking down second place in 6A-I District 2 and a home playoff game.
“Right now, it’s just one day at a time,” Lerma said. “We just have to continue doing what we’ve been doing and keep preparing every day. …Attitude and trust are key.”