MALTA — For the fourth year in a row, the Malta Mustangs scored a big football rivalry win on Friday with a 36-14 decision over Glasgow. But not many people at the game expected that final score, because it was just Malta's fourth game of the year.
Glasgow came in with a 6-0 record, dominating previous opponents in blowout fashion. And at first glance on Friday, the Scotties looked like they were at it again. A methodical opening drive took them into the red zone, but Malta’s defense held strong, and the Scotties never even scored in the first half.
"They have a nice scheme. They're well-coached," said Malta head coach Nick Oxarart about Glasgow. "And we just thought if we could maybe get a handle on Loden Idler, he's a dangerous player and a fantastic football player, and Jesse Lee, and then they're big up front with, starting with (Mayson) Phipps, we knew that those were kind of their big guys, and Cooper Larson. If we could kind of stop some of their key plays, then we have a chance at slowing him up, and maybe for a victory."
Because it was just their fourth game of the year, the Mustangs feel more validated than they normally would after beating Glasgow. Malta, now 4-0, has seen multiple games slip from its schedule due to the coronavirus, and in many ways, the Mustangs feel like the season is still getting started.
"We're in mid-October and we only have four games, so it feels like we still have just started and I'm not quite sure we still have some wrinkles to to sort out," Oxarart said. "But, you know, I'm proud of our guys. We've got a veteran offensive line that a lot of those guys have been playing since they were sophomores. And a lot of guys got playing time last year, so we bring back a lot of experience, and that has helped us get to this point. But we have a long ways to go. We feel like we could get a lot better."
"There's some issues that you can only work out in a game setting you can't really get a hold of in practice," said senior lineman Beau Simonson. "So yeah, there's definitely some setbacks to it. But we kind of just accepted the fact that we're going to get our game taken away from us and look to the next week."
This Malta senior class has now beaten Glasgow all four years of high school. They intend to enjoy that feeling at school on Monday.
"Oh yeah, everybody’s going to be hyped. It’s just such a good feeling to beat your rival. Like, it’s awesome," Simonson said.
"I'm proud of our senior leadership. And, you know, when you have a team like Glasgow as your next opponent, and we were able to get two weeks to prepare for them, maybe that was an advantage that we had, but our guys stayed focused," Oxarart said. "And I'm real proud of the job that they did preparing for two weeks versus these guys."
Malta can’t bask in this win too long, though. The Mustangs know they have to look forward to a date with Fairfield next week. The Eagles have been a thorn in Malta’s side in recent years.
"Fairfield’s always strong. They just they always come out and surprise you," Simonson said. "You can study their plays as much as you want, but they're always going to have something up their sleeve. I don't think it's anything we can't handle, though."