Zeke Jackson practices with assistant coach Buzz Brooks last fall.
Zeke Jackson practices with assistant coach Buzz Brooks last fall.
“So, what did you do during quarantine?” One day your children or grandchildren may ask you this question. 

How will you answer? Eight Pershing County Mustang football players could reply in unison. 

Jordan Gentry, Haydon Burrows, Devin Moura, Logan Oberman, Victor Flores, Conner Fecht, Tanner Woodard and Zeke Jackson finished their agility and conditioning requirements during the shutdown.

They had to work out on their own since the high school weight room was closed due to COVID-19.

“I was motivated to stay in shape for my senior year of football,” said Burrows. “I’m thankful there will be a season this spring, rather than none at all.” 

In March 2021, Burrows, a linebacker, will run onto Yanni Field with his fellow seniors, Gentry, Oberman, Flores and Jackson. Moura is a junior. Fecht and Woodard are freshmen. Practice starts in mid-February, but training is ongoing.

Once again, all PCHS kids can work out in the weight room. The coaches help them after school.

Coach Mike Brooks requires the football players to complete 28 lifting and conditioning days before winter break.

“The seniors are doing a great job leading and motivating the younger groups,” said Brooks, with a special nod to Gentry and Oberman. “Coach McLean has been helping me with kids in his weight training classes.”

The Mustang’s weight program has a long history. In 2016, Dave McLean spoke about it to MaxPreps.

The Mustangs had just won the 2A state title after a 12-0 season. However, the year before they’d gone 6-5, “interesting to point out because it should give coaches hope that a 6-5 record isn’t the end of the world,” noted MaxPreps.

“Getting kids to buy into the offseason weight program was huge for us,” said McLean. “When you have kids working out all year round, not only are they becoming better athletes and getting stronger, but there’s an investment into the program.”

In 2017, McLean stepped down as the head football coach, along with defensive coordinator Lance Condie. 

They went out on a high note in Winnemucca, overcoming a 17-point deficit to beat Battle Mountain 35-24.

The Mustangs scored the last 28 points of the game, including two touchdowns, in the final three minutes of the contest.

Brooks took over as head coach in 2018, another championship year. He continues to emphasize the weight training program.

The pandemic challenged but did not break the Mustang’s resolve. 

This team prides itself on playing every game as if the state title was at stake. 

Win or lose, McLean summed up the Mustang’s philosophy a few years back. It’s remained stable come what may.

“It’s important to enjoy the moment, enjoy all the games, enjoy our time we get to have with each other. I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves and miss out on that,” he said.

For now, Yanni Field is silent. 

The Pershing County football community has a hole in its heart, but the boys of fall will be back in March 2021, better than ever.