Myers Park knows how to take advantage of opportunity.
The host Mustangs, No. 6 in the Sweet 16, turned three takeaways into 14 points in their 35-28 Southwestern 4A win Friday against Porter Ridge.
The Mustangs won by making Porter Ridge pay for its mistakes. Myers Park quarterback Brayden Hawkins accounted for four touchdowns – connecting twice with Elijah Bowick and running in a pair in the fourth quarter, including a 4-yarder with 2 minutes, 11 seconds left for the margin of victory.
Myers Park struggled to solve Porter Ridge’s offense for most of the first half, but pulled ahead with a couple of scores over the last 4:34. The special teams got the Mustangs rolling when Blake Hackworth scooped up a blocked punt and sprinted 37 yards to tie the score at 7-7. Hawkins’ 6-yard pass to Bowick with 26 seconds left in the half put Myers Park ahead by a touchdown. Bowick’s 24-yard catch and run on first and goal at the 30 set up the go-ahead score.
Porter Ridge’s ground game set the pace early, with quarterback Grayson McCall rushing for 84 yards on six first-half carries while William Kilgo added 45 yards and a score on eight tries. Myers Park countered via the pass, with Hawkins racking up 101 yards on six completions.
Records: Myers Park is 9-1. Porter Ridge is 6-4.
Three who mattered
Bowick: The Myers Park receiver was clutch on the Mustangs’ first offensive scoring possession, covering the final 30 yards, including a 6-yard toss from Hawkins.
Malcolm Hines: Porter Ridge’s tailback scored twice, including a dazzling 55-yarder for a score in which he broke three tackles while weaving through the Myers Park defense.
Hawkins: The Myers Park quarterback got the job done with his arm (two touchdown passes) and legs (two scoring runs).
▪ Porter Ridge ran for 270 yards on 39 carries, but three fumbles helped do the Pirates in.
▪ Hackworth’s 37-yard touchdown return of a blocked punt turned the momentum toward Myers Park in the second quarter. The score tied the game at 7.
▪ In addition to winning the turnover battle 3-1 with three fumbles recovered, Myers Park also stopped Porter Ridge on downs at the Mustangs’ 35 in the third quarter.
Porter Ridge faces Hickory Ridge on the road. Myers Park visits Independence.