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RIVALS TO REBELS: Mustangs and Eagles Give Fans Great Ballgame on Middle School Night at STHS Stadium

Johnston, SC – The ballgame was over and it had been a thriller.

Rival schools Merriwether Middle (MMS) and Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton (JET) Middle had just battled it out for four hard-fought quarters of football with the MMS Mustangs prevailing over the JET Eagles by a 6-0 final score. The game was only sealed in the final minute of play after Mustang defensive back Jorden Herrin intercepted an Eagle pass, allowing MMS to run out the clock. Now it was time to eat a well-deserved postgame meal – with each other.

That’s because as much as the Mustangs and Eagles look to beat one another in any athletic competition they can, they also have an eye toward the future when they will come together as the Strom Thurmond Rebels.

Fresh off of winning the Region 3-AA title last week, Rebels’ head football coach Andrew Webb was on hand for Middle School Night at Strom Thurmond High School Stadium with a simple message for players on both teams.

“There are not many places where you can go and play football where it is loved like it is here and that was our message to them,” stated Webb. “It was a lot of fun watching them compete out there tonight and there were a lot of talented players out there. For them to be able to come out here and put that kind of show on in front of these fans was special. We want all of them to come to Strom Thurmond.”

The two teams entered the contest from different directions regarding their season records, but you would never have known that by watching the action on the field. Both defensive units dominated a scoreless first half before the Mustangs (6-1) went to a spread formation in the second half to try to gain an advantage. In the third quarter, Merriwether Middle finally put together a long drive capped off by an A.J. Hillary touchdown run that proved to be the difference. 

Merriwether Middle School football coach Antwaun Hillary lauded his team’s consistent effort throughout the game..

“I told them I was really proud of how they found a way to win,” commented Hillary. “It wasn’t the prettiest win, but in that second half we chewed up the clock and in the third quarter we worked really hard and got one in on the right side. They had eight and nine players in the box, so we knew we had to get the ball on the outside.” 

JET Middle School football coach Jason Schumpert praised his Eagles (1-6) despite falling a bit short on the scoreboard.

“We just couldn’t make a play when we needed to make a play and we could never find that big play to get in the end zone,” stated Schumpert. “Our guys played hard, but (Merriwether) made a few more plays than we did.”

ECSD Public Information Office