As expected, the Mallard Creek Mavericks made short work of the West Charlotte Lions in a 59-0 rout in their MECKA8 4A conference opener at Mallard Creek on Friday night.
What they hadn’t planned on was playing almost all of the game without their starting quarterback. Senior Emiere Scaife, a second-year starter, suffered an ankle injury on the third play of the game and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
“I feel bad for the kid because he’s put so much into the season,” said Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri, who said he wouldn’t speculate on how long Scaife, who has committed to play at Georgia State University, might be sidelined.
“But that’s football. Guys go down with injuries and that’s part of the game. You just have to depend on the next man up to step in and perform,” Palmieri said.
On this night, that was sophomore backup James Smith, who entered the game when Scaife came up limping after a 14-yard scramble. Smith ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more as the Mavericks (5-0, 1-0) rolled to a 24-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and were never threatened.
Senior running back Jaylen Samuels scored the first of his four touchdowns – two rushing, two passing – on a 5-yard run barely two minutes into the game, after setting the Mavericks up with a 40-yard return of the opening kickoff.
And that was pretty standard operating procedure for the Mavericks, who started only one of their touchdown drives in their own territory all night.
“We played great defense, and that set up our offense in good field position,” Palmieri said. “We wanted to come out and jump on them early, to try to play a lot of guys and to run the football. We were able to do all of that.”
Before the first quarter was done, Smith had an 8-yard touchdown run, Samuels scored on a 32-yard run and Tyus Lopez booted a 41-yard field goal. The Mavericks took a 38-0 halftime lead after second-quarter touchdowns by Kevin Rucker, on a 16-yard run, and Samuels, on a 6-yard pass from Smith.
The highlight of a long, frustrating night for the outmanned Lions (0-5, 0-1) was a 72-yard run late in the second quarter by quarterback Dirk Cureton, who took a short snap from punt formation at his own 15 and raced to the Mallard Creek 13. But West Charlotte’s drive fizzled after the Lions reached the 10.
Smith passed for a 17-yard touchdown to Samuels and ran for a 3-yard score in the third quarter before leaving the game.
“He’s a good ballplayer, and we’re going to need him to fill in and make some plays,” Palmieri said.
A 10-yard touchdown pass from Ronald Porter, who started the week on the junior varsity team, to Douglas Walker on the first play of the fourth quarter completed the scoring.
Mallard Creek plays at Hopewell on Friday and West Charlotte plays at North Meck.
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