Life in the same football conference as No. 1 Mallard Creek has its challenges, as the A.L. Brown Wonders found out Friday night in their first-ever MECKA 8 4A game with the Mavericks at Mallard Creek.
The visitors from Kannapolis stayed within striking distance of Mallard Creek (9-0, 5-0) into the second half but eventually fell victim to their own mistakes in a 49-7 loss to the Mavericks.
Mallard Creek had big plays on both sides of the ball, giving A.L. Brown their second straight loss.
Mallard Creek running back/wide receiver Jaylen Samuels rushed for two touchdowns and caught a 32-yard pass for another score, and senior running back Lawrence Pittman carried 13 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
And junior defensive back Nafees Lyon had three drive-killing interceptions along with a 41-yard kickoff return to give the Mavericks big plays in all three aspects of the game.
Mallard Creek literally led from the first play from scrimmage, scoring on a 55-yard run by Pittman, one of five scoring plays of 30 yards or more on the evening for the Mavericks, who rarely started a drive from inside their own 30.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Samuels ended a short drive on Mallard Creek’s next possession and gave the Mavericks a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Then interceptions by Lyon on back-to-back possessions set up the Mavericks for touchdowns that threatened to make the game a blowout before halftime.
Pittman scored on a 40-yard run after the first one, and Samuels ended the second one with a 2-yard scoring run. That drive was highlighted by a 39-yard pass from sophomore quarterback James Smith to senior tight end James Tally.
That made it 28-0 with seven minutes to go before halftime.
But the Wonders (6-3, 3-2) headed into the break with some momentum after their best drive of the night, a 77-yard march, ended in a touchdown on an 8-yard pass from quarterback Andrew Ramirez to tight end Johnathan Bryant.
And Brown ended the half with a big defensive stop, recovering a fumble by Mallard Creek quarterback Smith at the Wonders 1 in the final seconds.
But a promising drive by Brown after the second half kickoff was cut short at midfield when running back Sandon McCoy fumbled the ball away. The Wonders wouldn’t come close to scoring again until the final minutes.
Mallard Creek took a 35-7 lead to the final quarter on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Samuels, and added a quick touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 55-yard run by junior running back Stephon White.
A last-minute scoring threat by Brown reached the Mallard Creek 15, but backfired when Nate Williams’ 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Sophomore linebacker Jacob O’Connor executed the scoop-and-score, going 70 yards for the final tally with 52 seconds to play.
NOTES: Mallard Creek is at Concord Robinson on Friday and Brown hosts West Charlotte.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less