There just wasn’t much not to like about Mallard Creek’s 41-0 victory at Vance on Friday night in a battle of MECKA 8 4A leaders – at least not to Mavericks coach Mike Palmieri.
“It was our type of football game,” he said after the Mavericks (8-0, 4-0), by turns flashy and methodical, wore down the Cougars (5-3, 2-2) to put more distance between themselves and the rest of the conference pack. “They have a good offense with a lot of weapons, but we play pretty good defense.”
Mallard Creek limited Vance to 72 yards of offense, most of it during the first half, and the Mavericks sacked Cougars quarterbacks six times.
“That’s a tall mountain to climb,” said Vance coach Keith Wilkes, whose team had won four of its previous five games. “We lost 33 players from last year’s team, and our young players have been doing a good job. But when you’re faced with a team like that at the top of their game – well, you just can’t make the mistakes that we did.”
Senior running back Jaylen Samuels rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries and caught a touchdown pass for another score. Running back Lawrence Pittman ran for 187 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries for the Mavericks, whose offense has been guided by a pair of sophomore quarterbacks since losing senior starter Emiere Scaife to an ankle injury three weeks ago.
James Smith directed Mallard Creek to its first touchdown on a 29-yard pass to Vernon Grier less than two minutes in, a score that was set up by a partially blocked punt. But Smith was replaced by Ronald Porter early in the second quarter and didn’t return until the final six minutes of the game.
“Both players did well, and we’re comfortable using both of them,” Palmieri said. “We tell everybody that you’re just one snap away from coming into the game.”
Porter threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Samuels with about nine minutes left in the first half, and Mallard Creek also scored on its next two possessions to take a 28-0 lead at halftime.
Pittman ended a short drive with a 10-yard scoring run and Samuels got loose for a 57-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left in the half. That one was set up by an interception by junior defensive back Nafees Lyon.
Samuels added third-quarter touchdown runs of 7 and 5 yards.
Vance will host North Meck next Friday and Mallard Creek will be at home against A.L. Brown.
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