Independence moved closer to a Southwestern 4A conference title Friday night in large part because of a stout defense and a career night from running back Quantavious McGill.
Elijah Small’s interception with 1 minute, 57 seconds remaining preserved a 17-14 victory for Independence at Myers Park. McGill finished with 202 yards rushing on 22 carries, including four attempts of more than 20 yards.
Independence quarterback Christian McPhail completed 11 of 18 passes for 106 yards, including a pair of touchdowns to wideout Cederic Stone. The winning score, on the same timing pattern as Stone’s first touchdown, came with 3:07 left in the fourth quarter.
Amari Jordan returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown for Myers Park, and quarterback Jack Davidson connected with Cooper Hearn for a score with six seconds remaining in the first half.
The Patriots, who have yielded 28 points in four Southwestern 4A games, can clinch at least a share of the conference title next week.
Quote: “My O-line wanted me to keep getting the ball,” McGill said. “They were like, ‘keep giving him the ball, keep running it.’ They know if they do what they do, I can get in the open field and show off my talent.”
Records: Independence is (6-3, 4-0 in Southwestern 4A). Myers Park is (5-4, 2-2).
Worth noting: Independence defensive tackle Christian Colon was not at the game, and not listed on the team’s official roster. Independence coach Justin Hardin declined to comment on Colon’s status. Colon withdrew from his commitment to Penn State on Thursday.
Without Colon, the Patriots defense held Myers Park to 228 yards and picked off Davidson twice. Davidson completed 19 of 35 passes for 143 yards for the Mustangs.
“Coach (Michael) Hertz does a great job as defensive coordinator of keeping things simple,” Hardin said. “We just want to get lined up, read the keys and play fast.”
Up next: Independence travels to Rocky River, while Myers Park is on the road at Garinger.