Mustangs prepare for first ever playoff appearance

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With a 5-4 record, and the varsity football team’s first ever playoff eligible season, the Mustangs gathered as a team Saturday night at Metea to await the class 8A IHSA playoff pairings announcement. After anxiously waiting, the Mustangs were excited when they found out they would be rematching district 204 rival Waubonsie Valley Warriors in round one of their first ever postseason run.

The Mustangs almost ended a Warrior five game unbeaten streak Oct. 3, but fell just short losing 38-37. Senior wide receiver Nick Dodson and the rest of his team are excited to have the opportunity for redemption from their heartbreaking loss to the Warriors earlier this season. “We were ecstatic to find out we were matched up with Waubonsie first round. It feels great to get the game we’ve wanted back and now all we have to do is capitalize on our opportunity,” Dodson said.

Junior outside linebacker Grady Raines is thankful to have another chance versus Waubonsie. “[Playing Waubonsie] It’s a dream come true. The WV game hasn’t left my mind since Oct. 3, we are so lucky to have another chance,” Raines said.

The Mustangs make history for Metea, being the first varsity football team to clinch IHSA playoffs. Often, it takes years to build a varsity football team into a playoff contender. The Mustangs have done it in six seasons, only five of which competing at the varsity level.

Senior quarterback Kyle Mooney is proud to be a part of the first team going to playoffs. “We are happy to be the team to lay down the playoff foundation for Metea,” Mooney said.

Raines credits the playoff berth to the hard work the Mustangs put in during the regular season. “Our team deserved this, we worked ridiculously hard throughout this season,” Raines said.

With the high stakes of the first playoff game, the excitement only adds playing in a crosstown rivalry. The “Battle on Eola” is certain to create some friendly rivalry and an intense atmosphere for the game.

“Imagine combining both a playoff and rivalry game into one, this will be unlike any other first round game,” Mooney said.

Putting the game’s hype aside, the Mustangs are trying to normalize this week’s practice as much as possible. “We plan on preparing just like any other week. We need to maintain mental focus because the stakes are so much higher now,” Dodson said.

Having already played them in the regular season, Mooney acknowledges the preparation both Metea and Waubonsie have on one another moving into the first round. “Both teams know what the other likes to do and the tendencies they have. We both are very prepared,” Mooney said.

With growing attendances at this year’s football games, as well as a spirited senior class leading the school, it is clear that “Mustang Nation” is eager to support the team in their record breaking season.

Dodson wants to win for his team, but wants to win for the Mustang community even more. “I know how much a playoff win would mean not only to the team, but also to everyone involved with Mustang football,” Dodson said.

 

By Drew Danko