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Muckers lose home opener to Indian Springs

<p>Michelle O&rsquo;Donnell/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Jimmy Withers drops back to pass in Friday&rsquo;s 23-14 loss against the Thunderbirds. Muckers had 250 yards rushing but the offensive gains were offset by nearly 200 yards in penalties. </p>

Michelle O’Donnell/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Jimmy Withers drops back to pass in Friday’s 23-14 loss against the Thunderbirds. Muckers had 250 yards rushing but the offensive gains were offset by nearly 200 yards in penalties.

Tonopah Muckers Football put its young team to the test at the home opener on Friday night against the Thunderbirds of Indian Springs and came up short, 23-14. Muckers Coach Duffy Otteson said it was one of those games where mistakes by his own team hurt them more than the other team.

“I don’t feel Indian Springs stopped us much,” Otteson said. “We had lots of mistakes taking snaps and lots of penalties against our offense. We had almost 200 yards in penalties against us and 12 dropped snaps. Our defense looked good when everyone did their jobs. We made adjustments at halftime to the double formation and the kids did fine.”

On defense, Otteson is worried about the missed tackles and he knows there are a few other things the players need to change for this week.

“Defensively we need to read run or pass faster and fill the holes with our corners and linebackers,” he said.

For the Lone Pine game, the offense needs to get plays off cleanly. Only then does Otteson feel they can go forward.

“Our run game is looking just fine, our pass game needs work, but I think it will come together,” he said. “We had over 250-yards rushing and all those runs called back on penalties, so we should have had over 300-yards rushing.”

At the home opener, junior Jimmy Withers was chosen as the new quarterback to take the place of Seth Littlefield. Otteson believes Withers will do well because he has two years of watching Littlefield play.

“At the quarterback spot we decided to go with Jimmy Withers for his experience. He has been running our offense for two seasons, so we felt comfortable with the more experienced quarterback.”

The Muckers will start Matt Misener at the fullback position and at the running back position will have Jeb Ayers and last year’s starter Jason Carman.

At the tight end position, the Muckers are loaded with talent. They have Conner Friel who is the back-up quarterback, Carman, who is also a running back, and last year’s starter Jimmy Hunt. There is also newcomer senior Tyler Gallegos.

The offensive line is led by second-year starter Scott Klien at center. Otteson said the following are competing for a spot on the line: Ian Guthridge, TJ Ayers, Joshua Kieck, Koa Elliot and Kyle Dennis.

The Muckers defensive line consists of two down lineman. On Friday’s game Klien and Guthridge started. Otteson believes this will also be subject to change.

“Hunt and Kieck will be ready to go for this weekend. Our defensive line spot will get a lot of rotation to find out who will best fit our line,” Otteson said.

There are two linebackers for the Muckers defense, held by brothers Jeb and TJ.

At defensive ends the position is filled by Misener on one end and Carman on the other.

The team has two defensive backs, Withers and Friel. Gallegos will also fill in there. The punting and the kicking is done by TJ.

The Muckers go into action again at home Sept. 6 against Lone Pine at 7 p.m.

Tonopah Offensive stats vs. Indian Springs: Rushing: Misener 12-169 yards 1 TD, Withers 13-57 yards, Jeb Ayers 9 -33, 1 TD, TJ Ayers 1 (-6), 21-1 (-2); Passing: Withers 3-7-42 yards, no ints; Receiving: Jason Carmen 2-23 yards, Misener 1-10 yards; Total Offense: 293 yards.

Tonopah Defense: Tackles Jeb Ayers 11 tackles (1 int., 1 sack), Friel 7 tackles (2 pass backups), Misener 6 tackles, Klien 5 tackles (1 sack), Carman 5 tackles, TJ Ayers 5 tackles, Withers 5 tackles, Elliott 4 tackles, Guthridge 3 tackles, Eason 1 tackle.

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