MELBA — In his third season at the helm of the Melba football team, Juan Colunga is starting to see the Mustangs adopt the Wing-T offense just as well as the coach imagined they would.

Melba’s offense was unstoppable yet again Friday, as the Mustangs ran all over the field and took a 56-6 win against Nampa Christian in Melba’s Homecoming Game.

It was the fourth time in five games this season that Melba (4-1, 2-0 2A Western Idaho Conference) had put up more than 40 points and the third game in a row it had surpassed that mark.

“I think it all comes back to the kids’ hard work and dedication,” said Colunga. “This is the third year we’ve run our system. First year was rough, second year was better and this year it’s easy to see that they’re confident. They know exactly where to go in any situation, and I think we proved that the last few weeks.”

Easton Bunnell, who had five touchdowns in last week’s 48-25 win against Cole Valley Christian, added four more rushing touchdowns on Friday. Zane Helm added a pair of rushing touchdowns, as Melba scored seven of its eight touchdowns on the ground.

“Our offense is nothing without that offensive line,” said quarterback Henry Clark. “That offensive line is the key to our success, and having those two — Easton and Zane — they can run the crap out of the ball and they execute almost every play.”

Bunnell had the first two scores of the game, the first after a Nampa Christian turnover on the first play of the game. The Trojan fumble gave the Mustangs the ball at the Nampa Christian 32. Five plays later Bunnell ran it in from two yards out to put the Mustangs ahead 6-0.

It was the first point the Trojans had surrendered in three weeks, as Nampa Christian (3-2, 1-1) came into the game having won its last three games by a combined score of 124-6. Melba scored the first 20 points on Friday.

“My coach preaches punching them in the mouth in the beginning,” said Bunnell, who added a 11-yard touchdown on Melba’s second drive of the game. “I feel we did that, we put 20 points on them in the first quarter, which is definitely punching them in the mouth and that was a huge aspect of the game.”

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Nampa Christian had a 68-yard touchdown run by quarterback Landon Cheney negated by a blindside block penalty and after Nampa Christian’s offense stalled, Clark found Tyler Roberts wide open near the endzone and chucked the ball down the field to give Nampa Christian a 20-0 lead.

“That was exactly what we wanted to do, get on them and stop them and set the tone,” said Colunga. “I believe we did that on the first play. I think that set the tone.”

Nampa Christian got on the board when Dane Bradshaw beat the Melba coverage and caught a pass from Cheney, running it in for a 71-yard touchdown. But early in the second quarter, Zane Helm extended Melba’s lead to 28-6 on a 15-yard run.

Bunnell added his third touchdown on a two-yard run late in the first half and the Mustangs took a 36-6 lead into halftime. A Trojan pass attempt into the endzone fell incomplete as time ran out on the second quarter.

Joey Bradshaw added a 10-yard touchdown for the Mustangs in the third quarter. Bunnell ran for a 17-yard score in the fourth quarter, his fourth touchdown of the game and the ninth in the last two weeks.

“The fullback is the key to the Wing-T offense,” Colunga said about the senior. “I’ve known since he was a sophomore he’s a special player. In my 13 years coaching the Wing-T offense, he’s the best fullback I’ve had. If somebody tries to tackle him, he’ll go forward and rarely does one person tackle him.”

Helm added a 63-yard touchdown run for Melba late in the game.

Melba will look to take the inside track on the 2A WIC title chance when it travels to face McCall-Donnelly on Friday in a matchup between the final two unbeaten team in conference play. The winner will hold sole possession of first place with two games remaining in the regular season.

“We have to have the championship state of mind in practice,” said Clark. “We got to work hard day in and day out and then come out, execute and do what (the coaches) teach us.”

John Wustrow is the assistant sports editor of the Idaho Press. He is a Michigan native and a graduate of Indiana University.

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