Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri knew his team was going to win Friday night at Charlotte Catholic, even when it was down 7-0 early.
The Mavericks scored 52 unanswered points to beat the Cougars 52-7 at Keffer Stadium.
We practiced so well, honestly, I knew the outcome of this game, Palmieri said. Even though they scored first, you know, we were going to stay with the gameplan and then do what we do best and tackle the football and score some points.
Charlotte Catholic (2-2) scored less than two minutes into the game on a rare pass from junior quarterback Ryan Miller to senior Drew Tomsho from 33 yards out.
The Mavericks (4-0), ranked No.1 in the Observer Sweet 16 and N.C. 4A Associated Press poll, took over from there.
Mallard Creeks defense held Charlotte Catholic senior running back Elijah Hood (North Carolina commit) to 102 yards on 21 carries and no touchdowns. No other Cougars back had more than 50 yards.
Charlotte Catholics Miller only completed two more passes for 12 yards after the touchdown and threw an interception in the fourth quarter.
I just thought we tackled the ball, Palmieri said. We talked physical all week with (Elijah Hood). Hes such a great player. He misses one tackle, he has 200 yards so . . . hes going to get his yards. Dont let him have one of those five touchdown nights and 300 yards and get a win.
Senior N.C. State recruit Jaylen Samuels led the Mallard Creek offense with 118 yards rushing and a touchdown. He also had 123 yards and two more touchdowns receiving.
Mallard Creek senior quarterback Emiere Scaife (Appalachian State) was 7 of 14 for 201 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
We just told them to make plays like they do every game, Palmieri said. Make plays and be physical at the line of scrimmage and good things happen.
Scaife threw passing touchdowns to junior Vernon Grier and senior Zane Talley in the first half.
Junior defensive back Nafees Lyon returned a Catholic punt 80-yards for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter and the Mavericks led 21-7 at half.
Scaife opened the second half with a 77-yard touchdown pass to Samuels. The quarterback also scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter.
Senior kicker Tyus Lopez added a 35-yard field goal to give the Mavericks a 38-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Scaife found Samuels again for a 46-yard touchdown pass with 10:20 left.
Samuels scored his final touchdown on a 55-yard run with 5:45 left in the game.
Both teams are off next week before starting conference play Sept. 27.
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
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