The Riverside-based Chicago Mustangs notched another accomplishment to their already impressive body of work in the semi-pro MidStates Football League on Saturday.

The Mustangs (8-1) defeated the Chicago Thunder 16-7 at Riverside-Brookfield High School, advancing to the Eastern Conference championship game to be held at RBHS on Saturday, Oct. 5.

With the Mustangs clinging to a 9-7 lead against the Thunder at the start of the second half, running back Jonathan Finch broke free for a 54-yard touchdown run allowing the Mustangs some breathing room at 16-7 with 13:02 left in the third quarter. The Mustangs’ defense did the rest, holding the Thunder scoreless the rest of the way.

“Our defense really stepped up,” Mustangs head coach Edward Chapp said. “We did the things we’ve been practicing all week. Their offense was going to the wrong part of our defense, and we cashed in on that.”

Defensive back Drew Silver nabbed three interceptions on the night, including one key pick on the Thunder’s first drive of the fourth quarter. Mustangs quarterback Dave Skowronski, who played football at RBHS, praised Silver’s standout performance. Skowronski knows how beneficial it is for the Mustangs to play next week’s conference championship game on their home turf at Shuey Stadium.

“Having another home playoff game is going to be really fun,” Skowronski said. “We’re all excited and confident about the opportunity to play well in front of our fans.”

In addition to their recent run of excellence on the gridiron, the Mustangs have established an identity within the Riverside and Brookfield communities  as an organization that prides itself on helping others. Every year, the Mustangs participate in the holiday stroll in Riverside, and support other charities such as “All in for Ethan” (a local charity that was created to provide support to other families affected by Giant Axonal Neuropathy (GAN) and the Ryan Dempster Family Foundation. Chapp takes pride in both the teams’ considerable efforts to help others off the field and an ability to put a quality product on the field to entertain area football fans at an affordable price.

 “We’re a quality program that plays excellent football at the AAA level,” Chapp said. “If people are in the area and they haven’t come to see us yet, they should definitely come out because they will see a great team.”

Former University of Illinois quarterback Juice Williams is on the Mustangs’ roster, although he’s still working on finding a professional deal.

“He could play for us at any random time,” Chapp said. “But he doesn’t want to risk any injury that would keep him from getting a pro deal. That’s totally understandable.”

As a former football and baseball player at RBHS, Skowronski gives the Mustangs a dash of local flavor.

“I love playing for this team, and I love everybody here,” Skowronski said. “I loved playing for RB and it’s so great to keep playing here on this field. I love being in this locker room, it’s my whole life in here.”

Former Lyons Township High School football players like running back Deonte Brown and left tackle Noah Washington have also contributed to the Mustangs’ success this season. For more information about the Mustangs, visit www.chicagomustangfootball.net.