Mustangs 49 ~ Chargers 21

By Allan Jamail

November 17, 2023 – At Galena Park ISD stadium, the North Shore (NS) Mustangs won the Area-Round-Playoff game over the visiting Clear Spring Chargers (CSC), 42-21. It was the 25th consecutive time the Eastside Boys advanced into the Region 3 Semi-Finals in the UIL Texas Football State Championship Playoffs, and their 44th consecutive district win.

NS fans got worried when their Mustangs sputtered on offense in the first half, making only two touchdowns, as did the Chargers. Their lack of offense was due to a good Chargers defense. The Chargers scored first with a 7 – 0 lead in the first quarter. Mustangs responded with a tying TD, making it 7 – 7. The Chargers took the lead again, 14 – 7 over NS, in the second quarter. NS tied it 14 – 14 before the first half ended.

Three minutes into the third quarter, NS starting quarterback Kaleb Bailey scored on a 22 yd keeper, making the score 21 -14. After taking the lead, NS attempted an onside kick that backfired, giving the Chargers half the playing field near the fifty yard line. The Chargers took advantage of the gift and scored, tying the game again 21 – 21.

Many questioned the NS coaches’ strategy of attempting an onside kick when you’re ahead and only in the third quarter. Most onside kickoffs are made when a team is behind and it’s near the end of the game after they just scored.

Bailey was sidelined with leg cramps near the end of the third quarter, with the game tied 21 – 21. Replacement quarterback sophomore Kaleb Maryland came in and scored on his first play with a quarterback keeper. The third quarter ended with a NS lead of 28 – 21.

In the fourth quarter, the NS defensive became more aggressive, rushing the Chargers quarterback Julian Salazar and keeping his passes off target. The Chargers didn’t score in the fourth quarter, while NS added three TDs, giving them a four TD lead and winning 49 – 21.

Mustang scorers: D’andre Hardeman – 4 TDs, QB Kaleb Bailey 1 TD, Chris Thomas 1 pass catch TD, Charles Thomas (defensive linebacker) fumble recovery and run-back TD. Jonathan Soto’s perfect kicking made 7 extra points. He has not missed this season, making 86 consecutive kicks. NS total yrds 557 (209 passing & 348 rushing), CSC total yrds 400 (280 passing & 120 rushing).

For the season in 12 games, NS offense has made 565 points, while their defense has allowed only 175 points.

A state championship finalist last year, District 21-6A Champion North Shore (with a 12-0 record) will play Cy-Fair Bobcats (with a 11-1 record) at the neutral site of Houston’s NRG Stadium on Friday, November 24, 2023 at 2 PM.

Linda Jamail, statistician and photographer