MUENSTER — The Ponder Lions looked unprepared during their 35-6 season-opening loss to the Muenster Hornets on Friday night, and nobody was too surprised by it.
Ponder head coach Glen Schuelke is new to the program, taking the job just 10 days before the start of football workouts. Russ Phillips, the former Ponder coach, resigned to take an assistant coaching job at Guyer.
“We still have a lot of things to prove,” Schuelke said. “You can’t have mistakes like we did tonight, but we will get better.”
Ponder’s only score came in the first quarter, when quarterback Trey Dunlap broke a 60-yard run.
The run game managed a mediocre 2.7 yards per attempt, but Ponder’s passing was virtually nonexistent. Dunlap’s first pass of the evening was intercepted, and he finished with just one completion in nine attempts, a 7-yarder to Christian Worthington.
Many of Dunlap’s mistakes are just growing pains for the junior who was making his first start on varsity, Schuelke said. He finished with 16 rushes for 104 yards, while running back J.J. Torres turned 10 carries into 20 yards rushing.
A close game slipped away from Ponder in the span of two plays in the second quarter. After picking up a first down on their 36, Torres scampered down the sidelines for solid gain but lost the ball during the tackle. Muenster recovered, and on the next play, quarterback Trace Klement recovered a bad snap with pressure in his face to somehow find a wide open Tavi Saltana. With the ball on the 3-yard line, Clint Sidwell punched it in on the next play.
“Muenster’s good, they’re used to winning,” Schuelke said. “We’re trying to get there.”
Muenster had its own growing pains to overcome, as Klement was also making his first varsity start as a sophomore.
“[Our start] was very sluggish at the beginning,” Muenster head coach Brady Carney said. “I could tell we were nervous; we were starting three sophomores.”
The players calmed down as the game progressed, Carney said, and Muenster put up 28 unanswered points after Ponder’s lone score. Klement finished 7-of-13 passing for 80 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while running back Clint Sidwell rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Ponder will take on Alvord in its home opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Muenster 35, Ponder 6
MUE — Tavi Saldana 14 pass from Trace Klement (Chance Herr kick failed)
PD — Trey Dunlap 60 run (pass failed Trey Dunlap)
MUE — Clint Sidwell 3 run (Chance Herr kick)
MUE — Clint Sidwell 2 run (Cole Walterscheid pass from Trace Klement)
MUE — Trace Klement 3 run (Chance Herr kick)
MUE — Mason Binder 4 run (Chance Herr kick)
Rushing — MUE: Clint Sidwell 14-80, Trace Klement 8-24, Dalton Bartel 4-19, Tavi Saldana 3-17, Clayton Hess 3-13, Mason Binder 5-5, Ryan Hoepfner 1-5, PD: Trey Dunlap 16-104, J.J. Torres 10-20, Jacob Whited 3-9, Christian Worthington 4--6, Spencer Waldo 1--14, Jose DeLeon 1--18.
Passing — MUE: Trace Klement 7-13-1-80, Clint Sidwell 0-1-0-0, PD: Trey Dunlap 1-9-1-7.
Receiving — MUE: Tavi Saldana 2-47, Cole Walterscheid 4-41, Clint Sidwell 2-30, PD: Christian Worthington 1-7.