High School Sports

Mallard Creek overcomes sloppy play, races past rival Butler 35-20

Mallard Creek’s Darnell Walker (33) tries to push past a host of Butler defenders during Friday’s game in Matthews. Mallard Creek won 35-20.
Mallard Creek’s Darnell Walker (33) tries to push past a host of Butler defenders during Friday’s game in Matthews. Mallard Creek won 35-20. WWW.MICZEKPHOTO.COM

Top-ranked Mallard Creek’s not-quite-primetime performance was still more than enough to carry the Mavericks past nemesis Butler 35-20 Friday night in a meeting of Mecklenburg football giants.

In a meeting of teams that usually face off deep in the 4AA playoffs each season, Mallard Creek overcame 138 yards in penalties – plus some infractions that were declined by Butler.

Chauncey Caldwell threw three touchdown passes, Darnell Walker scored three times, and the Maverick defense kept Butler quarterback Davis Cheek on the run much of the night.

Mallard Creek scored two touchdowns early in each half, but the reigning state champion Mavs’ back-breaking score came on a trick play. Down 28-13 late in the third quarter, Butler appeared to stop the Mavericks near midfield. But Tre Exume threw a 25-yard pass to Joel Gilmore on a fake punt, and Mallard Creek scored its final touchdown moments later.

Butler also was hit hard by penalties, whistled for 110 yards worth of infractions. In all, there were 22 penalties in the game, plus another half-dozen that were declined.

“That’s something we have to clean up,” Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri said. “We have good senior leadership, so I know we’ll fix that.”

Quote: “Butler is a good football team. Tonight, we showed that we are resilient and physical in beating a good team.” – Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri.

Records: Mallard Creek is 2-0 overall; Butler is 1-1 overall.

Worth mentioning: Butler quarterback Davis Cheek had a good game, despite being sacked six times. He completed 17 of 25 passes for 278 yards. … Mallard Creek defensive back Adonis Anderson made a big play, intercepting a Cheek pass in the end zone late in the third quarter. … Caldwell completed 12 of 20 passes for 188 yards.

What’s Next: Mallard Creek is home against perennial S.C. power Duncan Byrnes; Butler will visit Western Alamance, near Burlington.

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