Melrose-Mindoro was almost a certain lock for the playoffs at the beginning of the year, but there was still one game left to wrap up the Dairyland Conference as it took on Independence-Gilmanton last Friday for the title.

I-G came into the came undefeated in conference, just like the Mustangs.

Mel-Min would strike first after driving down the field. Quarterback Drew Blaken would punch it in himself from a yard out.

The usually-accurate Victor Ponterio would whiff the extra point as the Mustangs went up 6-0.

Later in the first quarter Blaken would take it again on a quarterback keeper, this time covering more ground with a 34-yard touchdown run. Ponterio would nail the kick this time and Mel-Min led 13-0.

The Indees would find some footing and break the Mustangs shut-out streak with a seven-yard scamper into the endzone. I-G now trailed 13-7.

“We had a lot of mental mistakes early but regrouped and played a lot better down the stretch,” head coach Tory Lockington said.

Mel-Min would be held out of the end zone in the second quarter, but after halftime the Mustangs hit another gear.

Patrick Corcoran would start out the quarter in Mel-Min fashion with a long 51-yard touchdown run extending the lead 20-7.

I-G would do little to slow down the Mustangs as Brett Gerdes continued the attack with a 41-yard touchdown.

The Indees would be shut out again in the third quarter as Mel-Min continued to extend its lead.

Gerdes would start the fourth quarter with a similar gash through the I-G defense for a 22-yard touchdown.

I-G would try and get a rally going as it sent a bomb downfield to bank in a 33-yard touchdown pass cutting the lead down to 32-13.

It wouldn’t be nearly enough to come back though. The Mustangs tacked on one more touchdown before the final whistle blew with a final score of 39-13.

“It was a big win for our kids, to win conference three years in a row is a huge accomplishment for these kids,” Lockington said.

The Indees did better than some recent opponents gaining 170 yards in total offense, but Mel-Min proved overwhelming again.

The Mustangs will prepare for playoff competition after receiving a number one seed in division six.

“As far as the No. 1 seed goes I think it has not set in yet,” Lockington said. “We will take it as every other week as we will try to get to 1-0 this week and fortunate enough to play at home.”

Mel-Min will host No. 8 Lake Holcombe/Cornell (4-5) on Friday night in Mel-Min

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Stephen Knoll is a reporter for Jackson County Chronicle. Contact him at 715-284-0085.

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