Huskies win with balanced offense and outstanding defense

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A balanced offense and a dominating defense led Fortuna Huskies to a 36-0 playoff win over Middletown at Husky Field on Friday night.

On offense, senior quarterback Chad Mussey had the best game of his high school career and threw for three touchdown passes.

Mussey completed 9 of 13 passes for 152 yards and also was a key component of the running game, rushing for 44 yards on 10 carries.

Jake Houseworth led the ground attack and had 84 yards and two TDs on 19 carries, while Caden Wilkinson added 10 yards on three carries.

Kallen Barotte was the Huskies’ chief threat at receiver and finished with three receptions for 104 yards, including a pair of TDs.

Tight end Kadian Thurman also had a three-yard TD catch.

“We came out pretty sharp,” head coach Mike Benbow said. “Our week of practice was amazing and our kids stepped up, and it was a great team win.”

The offense finished with 138 yards on the ground and 152 through the air.

But while the Huskies impressed on offense and “took advantage of what (the Mustangs) were giving us,” according to Benbow, they were arguably even more impressive on defense, shutting out a dangerous Middletown team that had won six straight games coming into the postseason.

“Our whole unit was stellar tonight,” Benbow said of the defense. “For them to hold Middletown to not a lot of yards was really impressive.”

In addition to his career day on offense, Barrote also was a perfect 4-for-4 on PATs and played solid defense in the secondary.

As they have for much of the season, Houseworth and Wilkinson each played pivotal role on defense at linebacker, while Emmitt Lumpkin and Ivan Moore helped control the line of scrimmage.  

Even the team’s backups played a key role, securing the shutout by holding the visitors out of the end zone with big stop at the two-yard line on the final play of the game.

“We’re getting better as we go, which is a pretty good sign,” Benbow said.

The win sets up a semifinal showdown at No. 1 seed St. Vincent de Paul next Saturday.

Categories: Football, Fortuna

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