Any road win at New Oxford is a good win.
So you can then understand why South Western coach Tony Shermeyer was overjoyed with his team’s 14-7 nailbiter of a win over the Colonials on Friday night, even despite the Mustangs controlling most of the game.
“You know what, we wish we could’ve had more. But we also knew coming in that their defense was very high energy and they were going to get after it,” Shermeyer said of his team missing some opportunities. “I think we maybe left some points on the board there. We missed two close field goals. But in the end, our defense played well enough to win.”
South Western (3-0) started the contest strongly, forcing a three-and-out on the Colonials’ first possession after the opening kickoff. The Mustangs then took over at midfield and marched immediately down to the New Oxford 20-yard line, but the drive stalled and Josh Wasowicz’ 37-yard field goal attempt went wandering wide right to keep the game scoreless.
After yet another three-and-out, the visitors took over at midfield for the second time in as many possessions and Cohen Bull ripped off a 29-yard run down the far sideline to the Ox 21. Once again, however, the Mustangs would come up empty-handed as New Oxford’s Derek Noel made a diving interception of South Western quarterback Shilo Bivins to keep the game scoreless.
On the ensuing possession, New Oxford quarterback Jett Moore dropped a perfect deep ball into the waiting hands of Ben Leese to get the Colonials out of the shadow of their own goal-line, but that’s as far as the drive would get as the Ox punted it back to the Mustangs and the visitors’ 31.
The first quarter ended tied at 0-0, and the second began with the Colonials getting the ball back after a defensive stop. However, the Ox offensive continued to spin its gears and after a third three-and-out in four possessions, the ball went back over to South Western.
This time, the Mustangs would make their possession count. After a couple of nice passes from Bivins to wideout Carson Trone gave them first and goal at the 1-yard line, Ty Cromer hammered the ball on a dive play and put South Western up 7-0 with 4:32 to play in the first half.
That’s when things began to get a bit topsy-turvy.
After Riley Killen returned the ball to the Ox 37-yard line, Brittyn Eakins put the ball on the ground and the Mustangs came up with possession. However, they were unable to make anything of it and the ball went right back to the Colonials at their own 24 with 2:32 left in the half. Then, disaster struck again for the hosts as Moore’s pass was tipped right into the hands of a waiting Trone, who returned the interception all the way to the New Oxford 14-yard line with 1:39 remaining in the first half.
Shortly thereafter, Cromer again hammered the ball into the end zone from a yard out, doubling the South Western lead at 14-0 just 11 seconds before halftime.
The Mustangs maintained that lead into the half and looked to extend it when they received the second-half kick. Bivins led South Western right down the field, but yet again a drive stalled deep in Ox territory and Wasowicz’ second attempt was no more successful than the first, coming up short and left to keep the score at 14-0.
The Colonials found some success on their first drive of the second half. Moore hit Troy Dubbert on a fade for 35 yards to put New Oxford at the Mustangs’ 33-yard line, but three plays later, Moore’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete and South Western took over at the 29.
That’s when the Colonials’ defense gave them life. On third and 19, Bivins sailed a ball over the head of his intended receiver and into the waiting arms of Cam Herring, who returned the pick to the South Western 35. New Oxford then began the fourth quarter trailing 14-0, but with possession in Mustangs’ territory.
After a pass interference call kept the Colonials’ drive alive, Moore scampered in from 8 yards out with 10:06 left in the contest to cut the lead to 14-7.
“Their defense, they just don’t stop,” Shermeyer said of his team struggling to pull away despite numerous attempts. “They’re a very sound team on defense.”
South Western looked to respond on its first drive following the touchdown, but after moving the ball into the red zone, a sack and an illegal procedure penalty saw the drive stall out, leading to a punt.
That put the Colonials back in possession at their own 6-yard line with 3:56 left in the contest and looking to find the tying score. The Mustangs’ defense came up big though, and after three unproductive plays, the Ox had to punt it back to South Western with 2:44 left.
Looking to run out the clock, the Mustangs ran the ball three times, albeit for only four yards and had to punt the ball back to the Colonials with 1:32 to play. Thankfully for Shermeyer’s team, Max Wisensale came up with the perfect punt, dropping the ball dead at the New Oxford 6-yard line.
“Max made a huge punt down there at the end of the game to pin them deep,” Shermeyer said of the effort.
The Colonials had one punch left to throw, however, as Moore led his team across midfield and to the South Western 44 with 30 seconds left to play. Unfortunately for the Ox faithful, his final two passes fell incomplete and the Mustangs came away with their first 3-0 start since 2009.
“We came in here expecting a battle,” Bivins said after the win. “And it started off kind of slow, the same case as last game. The second half we came out kind of slow (too), but both halves we executed perfectly fine and got the points on the board that we needed.”
The Mustangs will put their perfect mark on the line next Friday as they begin league play on the road at Dallastown (2-1), while the Colonials will begin their league campaign at 2-1 Susquehannock.
South Western 0 14 0 0 — 14
New Oxford 0 0 0 7 — 7
SW-Ty Cromer, 1 run (Josh Wasowicz kick), 4:32
SW-Cromer, 1 run (Wasowicz kick), :11.
NO-Jett Moore, 8 run (Daniel Wolfe kick), 10:06.
First Downs 18 10
Rushing 38-111 19-42
Passing 18-27-2 12-24-1
Passing yards 156 153
Totals Yards 267 195
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 7-53 6-51
Punting 4-29.5 5-38.2
Rushing: SW-Cohen Bull 14-66, Owen Reed 9-36, Ty Cromer 2-7, Shilo Bivins 10-2; NO-Brittyn Eakins 9-22, Jett Moore 5-9, Riley Killen 4-9, Brennan Holmes 1-2
Passing: SW-Bivins 18-27-2-156; NO-Moore 12-25-1-153
Receiving: SW-Carson Trone 5-67, Josh Wasowicz 2-33, Chris Lesher 2-3, Noah Bankert 1-5, Ethan Mills 3-34, Bryce Schulman 1-4, Bull 1-7, Cromer 2-(-5), Reed 1-8; NO-Ben Leese 3-39, Hunter Crabbs 2-23, Troy Dubbert 2-49, Carson Heeney 2-30, Holmes 2-4, Eakins 1-8