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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
  • Bulldogs fall to No. 4 Spartans

  • Mexico faces Kirksville Tigers Thursday
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  • The state-ranked and undefeated Moberly Spartans were as good as advertised in a 41-14 win over the Mexico football team Friday night on the road.
    The win gave the Spartans a perfect 9-0 regular season record and dropped the Bulldogs to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the North Central Missouri Conference.
    Mexico's Skylar Harrington opened the game with a long kick-off return but the Bulldogs were unable to pick up the first down and were forced to punt, pinning the Spartans inside their own 10-yard line and giving them a long field to work with.
    Undeterred, the Spartans went on an 11-play, 93-yard scoring drive capped off by 11-yard touchdown pass from Justin Connaway to Dupree Alexander.
    Moberly had little trouble moving the ball, scoring on all four of its first half possessions and also blocking a punt and running it in for a touchdown to take a 34-0 halftime lead.
    The Spartans totaled 253 yards rushing and 130 yards through the air while holding the Bulldogs to just 60 yards rushing and 47 yards passing.
    "Their offensive and defensive lines were so big and strong that it was hard to move the ball offensively and stop them when they were on offense," said Mexico head coach Ty Harrison. "We hurt ourselves at times with mistakes but a lot of that was because of them. They are very good obviously."
    Another blocked punt returned for a touchdown with 5:00 to go in the third quarter put Moberly up 41-0.
    At the beginning of the fourth quarter Mexico blocked a Moberly punt this time, recovering the ball at the Spartan 34-yard line. Six plays later, D'Milo Nunnelly scored on a 3-yard run to put Mexico on the scoreboard for the first time.
    On the next possession Moberly picked up two first downs before a bad snap and handoff resulted in a fumble that Mexico's Spencer Thomas recovered and ran back 85 yards for a touchdown. A 2-point conversion run by Nunnelly made the score 41-14.
    Because of the nature of the game, Mexico was able to work in some younger players and get them some varsity experience.
    "It is valuable for them and also for the coaches because we get to see how they will respond in a varsity game and several really made a positive impression," Harrison said.
    The team must now turn its attention to district play when the No. 5 seeded Bulldogs get a rematch with No. 4 seed Kirksville Thursday night at 7 pm.
    "I thought the kids played hard the whole game. We can take that competitiveness with us as we move on," Harrison said. "That game is behind us and every one is equal again now that districts are here."
    STATS LEADERS: PASSING: Bracht 4-11 for 47 yards; RECEIVING: Tanner Smith 2-26, Harrington 1-12, Karsten Ekern 1-9; RUSHING: Ekern 4-29, Jamel Taylor 9-17, Nunnelly 5-17; TACKLES: Ekern 13, Tyler Bracht 11, Chance Harper 8.
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