JORDAN — The Jordan Mustangs football team has reached unprecedented heights this fall.
With its 50-37 win over Richey-Lambert in the 6-Man semifinals, Jordan reached its first state championship game in program history.
“It’s pretty fun to be in Jordan right now,” Mustangs head coach Brian Bills said. “We’ve already made history, but we’re not satisfied. We want to go in Saturday and show what we can do.”
While the championship game is unfamiliar territory, the Mustangs have gotten comfortable playing on the road. Jordan opened its postseason run with a 48-point win at Roy-Winifred. It was rewarded with a nearly 500-mile trip to Hot Springs, where the Mustangs again found a way to win.
The road trip shortened considerably in the semifinals, as Jordan beat conference foe Richey-Lambert on the Fusion’s home field. The approach for the Mustangs has been simple on the road: Treat it as a business trip.
“We’re not there to mess around and sightsee. We’re there to do a job,” Bills said. “We take it seriously. We’re not there to mess around. We’re not there to swim in the hotels, we’re there to get everything done.
“That Hot Springs trip was super far. The moms have helped us out giving us some snacks for the bus rides. We all get along, we’re all friends, so I think that helps, too. … We don’t want to ride back eight or nine hours on the bus after a loss. That’s motivation, too, making sure we’re playing up to our ability. … We’ve traveled really well this postseason. Obviously, in Richey-Lambert we had a lot of fans, Hot Springs we even got some people to make the trip across the country.”
The Mustangs finished the regular season on the road, too, so this weekend marks five consecutive road games. This week, however, presents the biggest test of all — top-ranked and unbeaten Wibaux.
Wibaux dominated the early-season matchup in Jordan, beating the Mustangs 65-19 and holding Jordan to its lowest scoring total of the season. Outside of the Wibaux contest, the Mustangs average more than 61 points per game, including more than 70 points per game during their playoff run.
The offensive numbers are eye-popping, to say the least. But according to Bills, its been the play of his defense that has sparked the Mustangs.
“Our defense has been winning us these past three weeks’ games,” Bills said. “That’s the saying: Offense wins games, defense wins championships. We’ve been really strengthening up our defense. We try to be proactive, but if we see something, we react to it.”
The Mustangs will need their defense to play at the top of its abilities to slow down the Wibaux offense. the Longhorns have scored more than 40 points in all 11 games this year. The 65 points scored against Jordan were the second most all season for Wibaux.
“We’ve got to stop the run. Those rushing touchdowns (by Cade Dschaak) last week, they’ve showed they can run, they’ve showed they can block well,” Bills said of the Longhorns’ offense. “And I mean, they can throw, too. That’s the problem. Wibaux is that complete team that’s been giving everybody around the state fits.”
Jordan is seeking its first state title in program history, while Wibaux is chasing after its seventh title and first at the 6-Man level. The Longhorns are familiar with hosting championship games, having won the last time it was at Veteran’s Memorial Field in 2014. Bills and the Mustangs are expecting a hostile environment on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s definitely going to be a strong Wibaux crowd,” Bills said. “We’ve been hearing some other teams around the state are behind us, but a lot of Wibaux fans will be there. They’re hungry for a championship. … But we’re expecting that. That’s how it’s been the entire postseason. We have to deal with their field, with their fans and just play our game.”
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. in Wibaux on Saturday.