Plum beats Highlands to move to 4-0 for first time since 2015

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Friday, October 2, 2020 | 10:28 PM


All good teams are tested at some point during a season, and Friday night, Highlands had No. 4 Plum with its backs against the wall for the first 24 minutes.

But good teams respond to adversity. After trailing by one heading into halftime, the Mustangs (4-0, 4-0) outscored Highlands, 14-0, in the second half to earn a 20-7 victory and move to 4-0 for the first time since 2015.

“We know never to get down on ourselves” senior Reed Martin said. “It was 7-6. They were winning, and we came back. We just kept pushing. Stopped them on defense and won the ball game.”

After forcing Highlands (1-3, 1-3) to punt on its first drive of the second half, the Mustangs put together a 10-play, 63-yard drive that concluded with a 32-yard touchdown run by freshman Eryck Moore, his sixth score of the season.

“That’s a special kid, and he proves it every week,” Plum coach Matt Morgan said of his running back who finished with 147 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. “He’s pretty special, and I’m glad he’s on our team. That run was a big-time football player-type run.”

On his way to the end zone, Moore broke a few tackles and bounced off a teammate or two before hitting paydirt.

The Mustangs had scored on the previous play when quarterback Ryan Hubner, who threw for 195 yards and a touchdown, hit Logan Brooks on the right sideline for an apparent score. But the play was called back for offensive pass interference.

Plum scored again with 8 minutes, 40 seconds left in the game when Hubner hit senior Preston Sunday with a 5-yard touchdown pass in the front of the end zone.

Through their first three games, the Mustangs hadn’t really been tested. They averaged 44.3 points game and allowed an average of 14.7 points. But Morgan knew a day would come when they would be tested, and they would learn a lot about the team they have.

Friday was that day.

“I think there was kind of a hush over the crowd in the first half because I think they were just expecting us to continue what we’ve been doing,” Morgan said. “But good teams find ways to win, and that’s what we preached at halftime. We told them they were fine, don’t panic and just go out there and be us and we were us in the second half.”

For the first 24 minutes, the Golden Rams held the Mustangs in check. Hubner passed for only 84 yards and Moore had 48 yards on 10 carries. They also forced the Mustangs to punt twice. But the Mustangs controlled the possession throughout the game, and it eventually wore on the Golden Rams.

“Our guys came out ready to fight, and we knew it was going to be a fight against a much bigger team,” Highlands coach Dom Girardi said. “But our kids are of that nature where they are willing to go out and play against anyone. They certainly battled, but, in the end, I think their size wore us down a little bit. But I couldn’t be prouder of our kids.”

After battling through an injury, sophomore quarterback Chandler Thimons threw for 122 yards a touchdown.

The Mustangs will head to Hampton next week, and Highlands will take on Indiana.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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