There was some good news for both teams coming out of Friday night’s rain-soaked Mallard Creek-Hopewell game.
First, for the Titans – they finally scored on the Mavericks, the first time in four years they’ve been able to do so.
But for Mallard Creek, it was another win – a 43-6 victory that extended the Mavericks’ conference winning streak to 43 consecutive games, and their streak over Hopewell to nine straight.
“We came out and played pretty mistake-free football in the rain,” Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri said. “We had a couple glitches here and there, but anytime you can get a win, it’s a good thing.”
Quarterback James Smith accounted for three first-half touchdowns for the Mavericks, ranked No. 1 in both the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll and the state Associated Press’ 4A rankings.
Smith threw for 154 yards and two touchdowns – a 16-yarder to Thaddeus Moss, and a 13-yarder to Corey Sutton, both in the second quarter – and added a 20-yard keeper for a score in the first quarter as Mallard Creek led 34-0 at the half.
Throw in 105 rushing yards and two TDs (3 and 2 yards) by Darnell Walker, a 9-yard TD run by Chancery Bowman, and even a third-quarter safety, and the Mavericks built a 43-0 lead through three quarters.
However, the Titans finally ended their shutout drought in the fourth quarter. Playing against Mallard Creek’s third-string defense, Tre Faison took in a 17-yard keeper, the first time Hopewell had scored on Mallard Creek since 2011.
Quote: “It does a lot for our pride. When you’re coming into a game where a team’s shut you out the last three years, you just want a touchdown.” – Hopewell coach Charlie Gray.
Records: Mallard Creek 6-1, 2-0 MECKA 8 4A; Hopewell 1-6, 0-2.
Worth mentioning: Friday’s game was moved from Hopewell to Mallard Creek – which has an artificial turf field – because of heavy rainfall on the Titans’ natural-grass field in the past week, with more rain expected this weekend. … The entire second half was played on a running clock, at the request of Gray.
What's Next: Mallard Creek hosts Sweet 16 No. 9 Hough in a battle of MECKA 8 4A frontrunners on Friday; Hopewell hosts conference rival North Mecklenburg.