Travis Prince was king of clutch for South Mecklenburg.
The senior running back rushed for 163 yards and a pair of scores in the Sabres’ 27-21 win against Marvin Ridge in the season opener for both teams. Prince’s most impressive run, a 59-yard run with 5 minutes, 9 seconds left, was the game-winner.
“I saw the hole open and I knew I had to put the team on my back – I have to score,” he said.
Prince’s heroics – 127 yards in the second half – propelled the Sabres in a see-saw fourth quarter in which both teams took turns conjuring up big plays. After South Mecklenburg’s Donnie Both scored on a 75-yard pass from Antonio Wallace for a 21-14 lead, Marvin Ridge answered on Austin Conna’s 72-yard strike to Emeka Emezi for the tie. The last word belonged to Prince, who rumbled through a large hole and outran the defense for the final score.
“It was definitely intense,” said Prince, who also scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter.
Marvin Ridge’s Caleb Deveaux accounted for the only score in the first half on a 5-yard run early in the second quarter, which was set up on Colonna’s 42-yard pass to Emezie. The Mavericks outgained South 169 yards to 88 in the first half, but was hampered by seven penalties for 50 yards. The Sabres struggled to get into rhythm against the Mavericks’ defense, which forced a pair of turnovers.
“We stepped it up in the second half,” Prince said. “The offensive line did a great job opening holes all day.”
Records: South Mecklenburg 1-0, Marvin Ridge 0-1.
Worth mentioning: Marvin Ridge receiver Emeka Emezie produced the game’s most spectacular play by fighting off a South defender to make a one-handed catch for 42 yards. Caleb Deveaux scored on a 5-yard run on the next play for a 7-0 Mavericks lead.
What’s next: Marvin Ridge will play its home opener next Friday against Monroe, and South Mecklenburg will host East Mecklenburg.