A week after suffering a disheartening overtime loss at home, the Mallard Creek Mavericks went on the road Friday and redeemed themselves in another “extra football” situation.
Quarterback James Smith ran for an overtime touchdown and running back Chancery Bowman ran for the winning two point conversion run to lead Mallard Creek to a 22-21 victory in a MECKA 4A conference game at Vance.
In a game which amounted to an “elimination” match of two conference contenders, the Mavericks, 31-28 losers to Hough last week, kept their hopes of winning an eighth straight conference championship alive.
It was a tough loss for Vance, which came from 14-7 down in the fourth quarter to tie the game with 3.2 seconds to play on quarterback Kingsley Ifedi’s 10-yard touchdown pass to older brother Jonathan Ifedi.
Ifedi’s second touchdown run of the game, a 10-yard scramble on a broken pass pass play, gave the Cougars their only lead of the game on Vance’s overtime possession.
Smith scored on the third play of Mallard Creek’s overtime possession and Bowman just crashed in from the right side on the two-point try for the win.
The Mavericks led 7-0 at halftime on a 67-yard touchdown run by Bowman with 4:33 left in the first quarter. Bowman finished with 23 carries for 144 yards.
But Vance took advantage of a failed Mallard Creek gamble to tie the game in the third quarter, stopping a fake punt attempt at the Mavericks 33. Ifedi scored from four yards out seven plays later.
Mallard Creek pulled back in front 14-7 on a 15-yard touchdown run by Darnell Walker with 2:35 left in the third quarter, and appeared ready to wrap up the win with a marathon drive that consumed most of the fourth quarter.
But the Mavericks ran out of downs at the Vance 32 with two minutes to play and the Cougars started their dramatic comeback.
Quote: “They (Mallard Creek) deserved to win, but I’m not so sure we didn’t deserve to win ourselves. It was a game between two good teams who had lots of opportunities. One team gets to win and one team has to lose. We need to learn how to finish a game. But the sun will come up in the morning and we’ll get back to work.” Vance coach Aaron Brand, a former Mallard Creek assistant coach.
Records: Mallard Creek 7-2, 3-1 MECKA 4A; Vance 5-3, 1-2
Worth mentioning: With the Cougars unable to put together a running game, Vance’s offense went through Ifedi. He completed only two of his first eight passes, but connected on 8-of-9 in one stretch of the second half as the Cougars rallied.
What's Next: Mallard Creek hosts Kannapolis A.L. Brown at 7 p.m. Friday, and Vance hosts North Mecklenburg. Both are MECKA 4A conference games.