For the first time in the history of the school, C. Milton Wright is celebrating an undefeated football season.
The Mustangs rolled over Fallston, 40-0, Thursday night to finish their season at 10-0 and win the Harford County championship. Aberdeen (8-2, 7-1) took second place in the county after routing Havre de Grace, 50-12, Thursday night.
With nobody over 6 feet tall, the Mustangs don't look that overpowering, but they wore down their opponents with a steady ground game and tough defensive line play.
"It's hard to pinpoint why we're 10-0 after losing so much personnel from last year," said Coach Steve Harward. "We held together, and we did a lot of things right when we had to."
All season long, the Mustangs overcame slow starts. Even against Fallston, they had two first half fumbles. Somehow, the Mustangs have been able to forget about mistakes quickly and bounce right back.
"We just have a lot of tough boys with big hearts," said senior running back Israel Sostrin.
The victory also clinched the Class 3A Region III title for the Mustangs, assuring them of a home-field advantage for the state playoff opener. Friday night at 7:30, the Mustangs will play host for a state quarterfinal game. Their opponent will not be decided until Sunday's seeding meeting.
It appears that the Mustangs will be seeded second or third and face either Bladensburg (7-2 going into yesterday's game) or North Hagerstown (8-1).
Most of the season, the Mustangs have chewed up yardage on the ground.
Against Fallston, they had 350 yards rushing.
It doesn't hurt to have a fullback like Kenny Batten. The 6-foot, 180-pound senior rushed for 1,081 yards on the season. Against Fallston, he carried the ball 17 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
But Batten, who scored on two three-yard runs, had a lot of support.
Five different players scored touchdowns against the Cougars (3-7).
Sostrin (94 yards on 10 carries) started off with a 55-yard touchdown run on the Mustang's first play from scrimmage.
Mike Wiechart opened the third quarter by catching a 32-yard pass from quarterback Jeff Hawk for a touchdown. Zi Shum had a 60-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Back-up quarterback Brad Fordyce scored the final touchdown on a nine-yard run with 53 seconds left in the game.
Wiechart, a 5-foot-8, 161-pound split end, also made a leaping catch on a 36-yard pass from Hawk in the second quarter. That grab helped set up Batten's first touchdown run, giving the Mustangs a 14-0 halftime lead.
Jesse Sostrin caught the conversion pass from Hawk after the first touchdown. Wiechart kicked two extra points after touchdowns.
Fallston managed just 48 yards total offense, although they had 131 yards on kick returns. J. J. Weininger almost broke two runbacks but had to settle for 105 yards of kick-return yardage.
Defensively, the Mustangs proved just as strong. Batten, doubling as a defensive end, had one solo tackle and eight assists. Junior tackle Daryl Smith had two solo stops and five assists. Senior defensive end Mike Whitehead had two tackles, four assists and a sack.
Going into the playoffs, the Mustangs know they'll face a tough challenge. Last year, C. Milton Wright won its regional title but lost to eventual state runner-up Magruder, 28-0, in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Harward knows that size will become a much bigger factor in the playoffs.
"I'm sure every team we'll see will be much larger than we are," explained Harward. "But we have such special kids that I'll never doubt. We could be playing the Washington Redskins, and these kids would still give that extra effort."
Two other local teams should also end up in the playoffs. Joppatowne, coming off a 72-32 pasting by Edgewood, will play host to a Class 1A quarterfinal game.