Myers Park High is still in the hunt for the Southwestern 4A title.
The Mustangs kept their championship hopes alive with a 36-13 victory Friday against East Mecklenburg by jumping out to a big first-quarter advantage with a mix of offense and special teams. Myers Park (8-1, 4-1) scored twice on offense while special teams contributed their share of field-flipping plays to seize a 27-7 halftime lead.
Myers Park tailback Khamal Howard, a two-time all-conference pick at East before transferring over the summer, provided 50 yards on 11 carries, but he wasn’t the focus for the Mustangs, who roared to a 20-0 first-quarter lead. Brayden Hawkins connected with Emanuel Alston and Elijah Bowick for scoring passes and Tre Bly weaved through East’s punt coverage for a 43-yard touchdown run.
Myers Park’s special teams came up big in the first half with a 35-yard run on a successful fake punt to keep the opening drive alive, Bly’s return for a touchdown and Blake Wick’s 20-yard fumble return on an East punt for another score. The Mustangs added a safety when an Eagles snap sailed over the punter’s head and out of the end zone.
Khalil Gilliam’s 10-yard pass to Nu-Kwan Fair cut East Mecklenburg’s deficit to 20-7 in the second quarter and Khalil Woods’ 1-yard plunge pulled the Eagles to within 29-13, but Cameron Roseman-Sinclair’s 37-yard interception return for a score shut the door on any comeback aspirations.
Records: Myers Park is 8-1. East Mecklenburg is 5-4.
Three who mattered
Brayden Hawkins: Myers Park’s quarterback connected on 10-of-13 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
Elijah Bowick: Mustangs receiver had the game’s longest play from scrimmage, a 56-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.
Cameron Roseman-Sinclair: Myers Park’s safety was active in the defensive backfield with an interception return for a score and two nifty pass breakups.
▪ East Mecklenburg ran 34 plays for 96 yards in the first half compared to Myers Park’s 27 for 191 yards.
▪ Myers Park had four sacks compared to East Mecklenburg’s one.
The Mustangs’ Howard finished with 50 yards on 11 carries, with 36 yards on seven second-half attempts.
▪ Myers Park hosts Porter Ridge. East Mecklenburg travels to Hickory Ridge.