LAMONI — Murray fought from behind to secure second place in Eight-Man District 6 with a 48-40 victory over Lamoni Friday.
The Mustangs finished the regular season 8-2 overall and 6-1 in District 6, one game behind champion Adair-Casey. Murray hosts Wayne of Corydon in Wednesday’s playoff opener.
Lamoni sinks to 5-2 in district play and 8-2 overall. The Demons travel to Bussey to take on Twin Cedars (9-1).
“Our kids really responded when we got behind,” said Murray coach Keith Shields. “We really felt we had to eliminate some of our own mistakes to come back and win the game.”
Andrew Rider, who later got his 12th career punt return for a touchdown to set a national record, gave the Mustangs a 15-0 lead on scoring runs of 65 and 40 yards.
But in the second quarter, Lamoni moved out front by scores of 28-14 and 34-21 with just a minute left in the half.
Seth Nerness sparked the Mustangs with a 48-yard touchdown pass reception from Matt Barnes to close it to 34-28 at halftime. A 20-0 third quarter put the Mustangs back in command, yielding one fourth-quarter TD to hold on for the eight-point win.
“After our good start, we shot ourselves in the foot throughout the rest of the first half,” Shields said. “We lost three fumbles on drives inside the 15, and turned it over on downs at the 22, as well. Matt Barnes came in at quarterback midway through the second quarter and made several big plays in the passing game.”
Murray’s defense dominated the third quarter, allowing Lamoni only four offensive plays.
Rider’s record-breaking punt return was a 55-yard dash in the third quarter to give the Mustangs a 48-34.
Central Decatur 8
OGDEN — Central Decatur, needing a win in order to make the playoffs, went into Ogden and gave the second-seed Bulldogs all they could handle in a 16-8 loss to Ogden here Friday.
Junior Trenton Wells scored the lone Central Decatur touchdown, as he finished with 99 rushing yards on 40 carries with the score. He also played quarterback in place of Peyton Pedersen, completing 6-of-20 passes for 79 yards with one interception.
Wyman Reed added 28 yards rushing on six carries. Peyton Gilbert was the leading receiver with two catches for 29 yards. Kyle Palmer caught one pass for 26 yards and Pedersen caught three passes for 24 yards.
Gilbert led the Cardinal defense with nine total tackles. Daniel Weir finished with seven tackles and Austin Delong added six. Noah Bishop and Gilbert each recovered one fumble.
Ogden was led by sophomore Austin Lentz, who ran the ball 12 times for 115 yards and one touchdown. Kolton Chirstle scored the other touchdown for the Bulldogs on 10 carries for 22 yards.