The Muir football team never needs any motivation when it comes to the Turkey Tussle.
Playing crosstown rival Pasadena is enough to get them amped up, but the Mustangs had two additional forms of motivation Friday night.
After 20 consecutive wins from 1995-2014, Muir fell last season to the Bulldogs, and if that weren’t enough, a potential secured playoff berth was at stake.
Muir quarterback Darren Meyers talked a big game earlier in the week about how much better the Mustangs are at every position over Pasadena.
As brash as that may sound, Meyers backed up all his claims by scoring two rushing touchdowns, picking Pasadena’s Kristopher Jolley while on defense, and registering a sack.
That all led to Muir’s 18-6 Pacific League victory over Pasadena in the 70th annual Turkey Tussle in front of approximately 1,000 fans
It also helped edge the Mustangs closer to a playoff berth.
Muir (6-4 overall, 4-3 league) and their rushing attack, led by quarterback Darren Meyers, took back the prestigious victory bell back from Pasadena (2-8, 2-5).
Meyers ran wild at the Rose Bowl in Fridays Pacific League contest, rushing for 83 yards on 11 carries, which included two touchdowns of 4 and 45 yards, respectively.
“It was our drive, and our refuse-to-lose mentality that helped us come away with the win,“ said Meyers. “That’s what drove me to break those tackles, that’s what drove me to get those extra yards after contact, and if you want it more, you’ll win.”
Early in the second quarter, Jonathan Stephens scored the game’s first touchdownon, a hard-fought, two yard run, giving the Mustangs a 6-0 lead.
Two drives later, Pasadena, with the help of some Muir Penalties, moved the ball down field setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by Jalen Jolley with 1:46 remaining in the first half.
That would be the only time the Bulldogs were able to put points on the scoreboard against the Mustangs defense.
The Muir defense held opposing Pasadena to 154 yards of total offense.
Entering the fourth quarter of the game, both teams were tied at 6-6, making it either team’s game to win.
The turning point in the game was on a muffed punt return by Pasadena, giving Muir excellent field position just outside the red zone.
It set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Meyers at 8:53 in the fourth quarter.
The play that seemed to secure the win for the Mustangs was Meyers’ very next run play on the following drive.
He broke tackle after tackle, running through Bulldog defenders for a 45 yard score.
Both teams struggled with the passing game, and rarely attempted to throw the ball.
Meyers completed 5 of 9 attempts for 20 yards, with one interception. His counterpart, Kristopher Jolley,, was 6 of 13 for 44 yards, including the interception by Meyers.
Each team committed 15 penalties for more than 130 yards.
Pasadena nearly had the same amount of total offensive yards as they did on penalties, which seemed to be the difference in the outcome.
With this win over crosstown rival Pasadena, Muir not only gets bragging rights for the next year, they also cap off their regular season on a 4-game win streak and a possible at-large bid to the CIF-SS playoffs.
“Our backs have been up against the wall this season, and we put ourselves there after losing four of our first six games,” said Muir head coach Antyone Sims. “The last four weeks we’ve been playing with the mind set that each game is a playoff game and we’re excited to get the win tonight on this stage.”
Muir: 0-6-0-12 (18)
Pasadena: 0-6-0-0 (6)
M: Jonathan Stephens 2 run at 9:30 2Q (2pt conversion unsuccessful)
P: Jalen Jolley 4 run at 1:46 2Q (Charlie Andrade missed PAT)
M: Darren Meyers 4 run at 8:53 4Q (2pt conversion unsuccessful)
M: Meyers 45 run at 3:24 4Q (2pt conversion unsuccessful)
Passing: Kristopher Jolley (P) 6 of 13 for 44 yards, 1 INT; Darren Meyers (M) 5 of 9 for 20 yards, 1 INT
Rushing: Darren Meyers (M) 11 for 83 yards, 2 TDs, Jordan Baker (M) 16 for 52 yards; Jonathan Stephens (M) 8 for 33 yards, 1 TD; Kristopher Jolley (P) 7 for 48 yards, 1 FUM; Jalen Jolley (P) 13 for 35 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Jeremiah Kennedy (P) 3 catches for 21 yards; Jonathan Stephens (M) 3 catches for 17 yards