By Michael Kinney
Since coming to Mustang in 2019, coach Lee Blankenship has continually tried to introduce new events to the football program. However, in 2020 that task was made tougher as they had to deal with a global pandemic. So that limited the Broncos in some of the activities he wanted to pull out.
But 2021 is a little different. Even though the pandemic is still ongoing, Blankenship has been able to incorporate more events into the team’s training.
That includes Mustang’s first-ever Horsepower Night, which took place July 23 at Bronco Stadium.
Blankenship opened up the stadium and allowed fans in to watch his team go for personal records on the power clean. They turned what is normally an exercise that only the players see into a community event.
“Man, it was awesome. We love doing this,” Blankenship said. “Obviously, last year with COVID, we weren’t able to do it. When we got here in 2019 and just were looking and evaluating everything about our football program, one of the main things that we saw was we’ve got to get stronger as a team. I mean, we’ve got athleticism here in Mustang. We’ve got tough kids. We’ve got kids that work hard and are in shape, but something that we saw is we got to get stronger in the weight room. We’ve got to be able to push people around at the point of attack rather than receive that. So we’ve really set our sights on that, and it culminated tonight.”
For many coaches, the power clean is the main lifting exercise that incorporates the most football skills and shows just how strong an athlete is. So it was important to see the gains the Broncos have made in it.
“We’ve got some kids that are throwing up weight that is really, really impressive,” Blankenship said. “And I don’t care what school you’re at in the country, we’ve got some guys that could walk in a weight room and impress anywhere.”
According to Blankenship, 133 personal records were set and broken throughout the night.
Reece Trammell led the way, as he set a new school record with a 325-pound power clean. The previous record was 315.
Trammell was one of three Broncos to go over the 300-pound mark.
That includes Chris Fowler and running back Brett Phillips, who hit 310.
“He got out at 315,” Blankenship said. “He attempted that — was really close. But he ended the night with 310. For a running back, that’s special, man.”
Broncos who hit 225 or more were given t-shirts to signify the accomplishment. The first one to get a shirt Friday was newcomer Chaz Bradley.
“It feels pretty good,” Bradley said. “At first I was kind of nervous. But my whole team was behind me. That basically just brought up strength in me. And I just hit it. It felt pretty good. Before, where I came from, we really didn’t do cleans. It felt pretty good to go higher in my weight.”
Bradley transferred to Mustang from Yukon during the offseason. He says since he arrived his strength has really grown.
“Chaz Bradley was the first one of the night I believe to get 225. Chaz is a transfer here, came to our program. I think he was at about 180 when he showed up about two or three months ago now,” Blankenship said. “And he has just exploded. His work ethic has been tremendous. And he looked around and went, “Man, I got to get stronger in here,” and he sure enough has. And he’s just going to continue to grow and develop. He’s a junior. He’ll be out here doing 275 in a year.”
Blankenship was also throwing platitudes at the couple of hundred fans who showed up to watch the event. They were entertained by the band, the cheerleaders and the pom squad throughout the night.
“Our sophomores and juniors have never seen the community come out and embrace them like that, especially this time of year,” Blankenship said. “You know, it’s July, and our bleachers were pretty full. I was actually shocked and really excited to see that many fans come out and just support our kids like that. But that’s what Mustang is, man. It’s a special place and we’re thankful to be here. On Friday nights in the fall… We don’t have a movie theater. The greatest show in town is right here in this football field, and that’s pretty cool about our community. It’s a huge school with a small-town feel, and we love that.”
Copy & Photo by Michael Kinney