AREA FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Mustangs Hope to Benefit from Experience
The Sylvan-Lucas Mustangs had a successful season in 2020 even though they didn't reach their ultimate goal. Key performances from several positions propelled Sylvan-Lucas to its best record since 2017.
The Mustangs bolted out to a fast 3-0 start and held a first half lead on the road at Victoria in Week 4 before turnovers and big plays helped the Knights rally for a blowout victory. From there, Sylvan-Lucas won four of its next five games which included a 74-point explosion for a first round playoff win at South Barber.
A second meeting with Victoria the following week resulted in a 50-0 loss and a tough end to the season but as the 2021 slate approaches, head coach Ben Labertew who played on the Mustangs' first state championship team in 1995 and who is now in his 10th year manning the sidelines at his alma mater is hopeful that the returning players from last year's squad can provide significant contributions.
The Mustangs' biggest losses to graduation are on the interior line on both sides of the ball, especially with the departures of Tra Barrientes, Logan Buttenhoff and other key players.
Sylvan-Lucas hopes to compete for one of the top two spots in rugged District 5 but Labertew acknowledges that every District game has playoff implications and there are some teams showing big improvement.
Labertew is assisted by Craig Batchman, Ryan Batchman and Eric Nitsch. Sylvan-Lucas opens the 2021 season at home on September 3 against Beloit-St. John's/Tipton. The Mustangs gutted out a close road win against the Blujays to start the 2020 season.