With weather that made it feel like football season, the Missouri Cyclones opened the 2013 campaign Saturday night with a 23-6 win over the Illinois Justice.
Playing at Borgia, the Cyclones spotted the Justice the first score of the game before scoring 23 unanswered points to secure the victory.
The Cyclones continue their schedule with two road games. This Saturday, the Cyclones play at the Des Moines Blaze before going to Kansas City to play the Sugar Creek Shockers May 18.
The next home game will be June 1 against the Illinois Firehawks at Borgia. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
In Saturday’s opener, the Cyclones struggled offensively early in the game, but so did the Belleville, Ill., based Justice.
The host team dodged an early mistake near the goal line. Quarterback Andy Mundwiller (Borgia) tossed an interception, but chased down the defensive back and forced him to fumble the ball back to the Cyclones and end that chance.
The Justice did strike first on a 25-yard pass which got through the coverage early in the second quarter. The score, with 10:17 left in the half, was followed by an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt.
The Cyclones continued to work for their own opening score and finally broke through with 4:04 left in the half. Mundwiller hit Chad Stanley for a three-yard touchdown with 4:04 left in the half.
The always-dependable Will Rodriguez kicked the extra point and the Cyclones led 7-6.
Missouri added to the lead before the half. After a long pass put the Cyclones inside the 10. Mac Harris, a defensive back, filled in on a shorthanded offense and scored on a three-yard run with 40.1 seconds left in the half. Rodriguez booted the extra point and the Cyclones led 14-6.
In the third quarter, the Justice moved down the field and was in position to score, but the Cyclones fashioned a goal line stand and stopped the Justice on four downs.
In the fourth quarter, BJ Buckner ran for a touchdown, though the extra point attempt ended without success.
Rodriguez then kicked a field goal to give the Cyclones a 23-6 advantage, the final margin of victory.
Mundwiller and Buckner shared time at quarterback. Mundwiller started and completed five of nine attempts for 122 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His longest competition went for 72 yards to Jason Boyd.
Buckner was 4-8 for 57 yards.
On the ground, Buckner ran for 61 yards and one touchdown on four carries.
Johnnie Fields carried the ball nine times for 54 yards.
Harris had seven carries for 49 yards and one touchdown.
Mundwiller ran four times for 13 yards.
Union graduate Adam Amato ran nine times for 11 yards.
Boyd caught three passes for 117 yards to lead the receivers.
Mundwiller moved to receiver after his stint at quarterback ended and caught two passes for 39 yards.
Harris had one catch for nine yards. Sergio Kahn caught one pass for seven yards. Amato had one catch for four yards. Stanley pulled in the three-yard touchdown.
Defensively, Skye Buckner-Petty made five total tackles.
Bo Claggette had four tackles and helped on one for loss and a sack assist. He played a big role on the goal line stand.
Charles Lott also had four tackles, including one for loss.
Devi Greer picked off two passes with 55 yards on returns. He also had three tackles.
Marcus Clay and Michael Clay each had three tackles.
Ray Clayton had two tackles for loss and one sack.
Kyle Duffy averaged 34.2 yards per punt.
Kelvin Williams returned one punt for 15 yards.