Mustangs could get a McBoost for playoff game

Senior running back Kenyon McMillan missed first-round game but could return for tonight’s second-round game against Great Bend


Mykah Trusty

Senior wide receiver Trevon Cole helped carry the Mustang offense in a 21-15 victory in the first round of the playoffs last Friday. He could get some help if injured running back Kenyon McMillan returns from injury to play in tonight’s second-round game against Great Bend at Salina Stadium.

After surviving the Andover Trojans 21-15 in the first round of the playoffs, senior running back Kenyon McMillan — who is averaging 140 yards per game rushing — could return in the second round to help the Mustangs against the Great Bend Panthers.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Friday.

The Mustangs struggled in the run game against Andover, only racking up 146 yards, the second fewest of the season.

“Hopefully he runs wild like the cheetah he is,” head coach Mark Sandbo said of McMillan.

Even with junior quarterback Gunnar Gross completing 70 percent of his passes against Andover, Sandbo said that playoff wins will run through McMillan.

“I feel like balance is important,” Sanbo said. “Winning in November requires you to run the football effectively.”

Sandbo said that if McMillan is out, junior running back Elijah Wilson, who averages 5.1 yards per carry, will be able to pick up the slack.

“We expect Kenyon to play but feel confident that Elijah can come in and do some really good things,” Sandbo said.

The Mustangs are unfamiliar with the Panthers, having not faced them since the 2015 season.

“Our defensive staff has gone through a lot of game film and we scout them the same way we do anyone else,” defensive coordinator Austin Kingsbury said. “We just try to make sure our players are able to recognize formations and line up correctly so we can execute our scheme.”

An improved defense could be the key to beating the Panthers. After struggling much of the season, the Mustang defense has allowed less than 300 yards in the past two games.

“We have limited the number of missed tackles, and that has helped us tremendously,” Kingsbury said. “They’ve been committed to getting better at tackling and that has shown up in the last two games as well.”

The confidence level of the seniors has also helped the Mustang defense close out teams down the stretch, Kingsbury said.

“They’ve really stepped up by being great leaders,” he said. “and they have made big plays in the last two games.”