It took 47-and-a-half minutes to decide, but 6A-I No. 4 Mustang left Edmond with a 26-23 win over 6A-II No. 4 Deer Creek on Friday night.
“Doggone it,” Mustang head coach Lee Blankenship said to his team as they gathered for a post-game huddle, “you’re 2-0 boys.”
Still here: It’s not that being 2-0 is a rarity in Mustang. The Broncos went 8-3 last year and 7-5 the year before.
But this isn’t the Mustang teams of old. Graduating the 2023 class whittled the Broncos to three offensive starters and three defensive starters as Blankenship lost two Division I receivers and a starting quarterback. Many anticipated this “new” Mustang team would lose a step, yet as he addressed his team after the game, Blankenship told the “new” Broncos they could be the “best team” that he has ever coached.
The fifth-year coach’s spirits were high as he spoke to media after the game.
“We’ve had unbelievable talent in the last five years, but I love how these kids just play for one another. They play together. They don’t care who gets the credit,” Blankenship said. “The culture of our team right now, and just the camaraderie, the unity, those are special groups when you have that type of a locker room, and we’ve got that right now, and that’s why I said ‘the best team.'”
Player of the game: Mustang quarterback Trajan Williamson played gutsy in the win. He ran the ball 28 times for 143 yards and scored twice, including the go-ahead score with 1:56 left in the game. He completed 6-12 passes for 86 yards and a score to Jaden Johnson.
Outgained: Deer Creek’s 414 total yards for the night eclipsed Mustang by over 100; the Antlers also converted 20 first downs to Mustang’s 15, recorded few turnovers and committed few penalties.
Sometimes, the numbers lie, and here’s why: the opportunistic Mustang capitalized on Deer Creek blunders at every stop, the greatest example of which was a punt block that turned into a safety in the first half and became a 5-point play after an Aiden Jordan field goal the following possession.
Mustang shot ahead to a 12-0 lead in the second quarter. Admittedly, from my spot on the side of the field, it looked bleak for the Antlers, who, despite making big plays behind the arm of Grady Adamson, failed to reach the end zone at several key points.
They were stopped short on fourth-and-goal from the one-inch line on the first possession of the game.
They went for it on fourth down and lost the bet again in the first quarter.
With an opportunity to take the lead in the closing minute of the second quarter, a Deer Creek receiver raced toward the end zone only to be hawked down by an auspicious Mustang defender, who forced the ball out of his hands as a fellow Bronco recovered it inside the 10-yard line.
Any one of these scores could have decided the game in Deer Creek’s favor. The Antlers pieced together a winning performance, but the Broncos took nothing for granted.
Do you get deja vu?: Sometimes, the next man up is in the same household.
Mustang sophomore receiver Jaden Johnson, younger brother of University of Oklahoma cornerback Jacobe Johnson, made the biggest play of the game when he hauled in a slant pass on fourth-and-7, inside the red zone, Broncos trailing by 4 with under three minutes left in the game. Johnson also caught the first Broncos touchdown late in the first quarter.
“He’s grown up watching older brother,” Blankenship said, “and, buddy, on that fourth-down-and-7, when he made that, just, clutch catch to keep the chains moving and set that score up, it reminded me a whole lot of older brother.”
And there’s two of them. Jaytee Johnson, who promises similar talent to his twin, also contributes for the Broncos as he hauled in three passes against Southmoore last week.
Adamson: There isn’t much you can say about Deer Creek quarterback Grady Adamson’s performance other than “heroic.”
The junior Division I prospect showed fans why schools like Tulsa, UNLV, Pitt and North Texas want him wearing their uniform in 2025. He completed 24-39 attempts for 320 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
Adamson was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 39 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown.
Every time the Antlers needed him to step up, Adamson did just that, especially as he led his team out of a 12-point hole and dove to the pylon late in the third quarter to give the Antlers their first lead of the game.
He made several throws out of a collapsed pocket that just made you shake your head. He and the Antlers offense had a chance to win the game at the end. Two minutes to go 80 yards. The drive stalled out after a false start call broke its momentum a play after Adamson made his last big throw of the game.