Langley Mustangs break away from Longhorns in VMFL semifinal

The Langley Mustangs have earned the right to defend their 12-man provincial bantam football title.

Last year’s B.C. champions, the Mustangs will again play for the provincial championship this Saturday at noon at McLeod Stadium.

They will be taking on the South Delta Rams who finished first in the league, and defeated Chilliwack in their semifinal matchup last Sunday.

This will be the third time this year the teams have met.

The Mustangs qualified for the championship game with a hard-fought, 24-21 win over the North Delta Longhorns at John Oliver Park on Sunday in their VMFL semifinal.

The teams met twice earlier during league play, splitting the series at one win apiece.

The first quarter of last Sunday’s game, which was played under ideal fall football weather conditions, saw great defensive action from both teams, ending in a scoreless tie.

The Longhorns scored the only major in the second quarter to lead 7-0 at half time.

After the break, the Mustangs returned the favor with Azuka Okoli powering into the end zone to even the score at the end of the third quarter at seven points apiece.

In the final frame, the complexity of the game changed dramatically.

After Okoli added his second touchdown of the day, the Longhorns answered with a touchdown a few minutes later.

Then, a Mustangs march down the field resulted in a field goal by quarterback Colten Dejong.

Leading 17-14 with three minutes remaining, the Mustangs turned the ball over to the Longhorns, who proceeded to parade down the field to score a touchdown for a 21-17 lead.

Langley then got the ball back with just 26 seconds remaining.

A spectacular pass reception by Adam Rodenstien, followed by a game ejection, unsportsmanlike penalty against the Longhorns put the Mustangs well within striking distance of scoring.

On the next play, Sheldon Gangloff took the hand-off and drove into the Delta end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

The subsequent convert on the final play of the game sealed the Mustangs’ victory.

Damen Norris and Leatham Bright were standouts on defence. Norris had a timely quarterback sack and seven solo tackles while Bright also shone with five tackles on his own.

The Mustangs made note to the Langley cheerleaders who have come out every game, rain or shine, to support and encourage the players.

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