Mallard Creek played its most inspired football facing adversity.
The Mavericks reeled off a 21-point third quarter to score a 27-20 comeback win against Gaffney Friday on the Indians’ home field. Mallard Creek, which finished the South Carolina portion of its schedule 1-0-1 with a tie against 5A powerhouse Dutch Fork, got the job done after intermission, racking up 236 yards of second-half offense.
The duo of quarterback Dustin Noller and receiver Elijah Metcalf were dazzling with three scores, including the game-winner from 32 yards out in the third. Metcalf caught 11 passes for 170 yards and Noller finished with 323 yards and four touchdowns. Noller hit 12-of-17 passes for 206 yards in the second half with a couple dropped.
As good as Mallard Creek’s offense was in the second half, the defense was equal to the task, limiting Gaffney to 188 yards, including 90 in the second half. The Mavericks were particularly strong against the run, holding the Indians to 32 yards, including 9 in the first half.
Records: Mallard Creek 3-0-1; Gaffney 2-1.
Three who mattered:
Dustin Noller: Mallard Creek’s quarterback sizzled, especially in the second half. He spread passes to eight different receivers and finished 22-of-37 for 323 yards and four scores. He passed for 206 yards after the break.
Elijah Metcalf: Mallard Creek receiver caught 11 passes for 170 yards and three scores.
Undre Lindsay: The Gaffney junior passed for 89 yards and a score in the first half despite three sacks.
▪ Mallard Creek linebacker Trenton Simpson made his presence known early with a pair of first-half sacks. The Mavericks tallied three before intermission.
▪ Gaffney exploited Mallard Creek via the pass in the first half, with quarterback Undre Lindsay connecting on 6-of-8 attempts for 89 yards and a 17-yard touchdown strike to Tyler Smith in the second quarter. He also ran 1 yard for the game’s opening score.
▪ Mallard Creek outgained Gaffney 172 yards to 98 in the first half, but the Indians stopped the Mavericks on downs at their 13 late in the second quarter to preserve a 13-6 halftime lead.
▪ Wesley Blount turned in the signature defensive when the Mallard Creek linebacker stuffed Satron McDowell on fourth and 1 in Mallard Creek territory to preserve the Mavericks’ third-quarter advantage.
▪ Mallard Creek drew 12 penalties for 121 yards, compared to Gaffney’s eight for 55.
Mallard Creek has a bye, then the I-Meck opener against rival Vance. Gaffney is at Mauldin.
Mallard Creek 6 0 21 0-27
Gaffney 7 6 7 0-20
G-Je’Mari Littlejohn 1 run (A.J. Hames kick); MC-Elijah Metcalf 30 pass from Dustin Noller (kick blocked); G-Tyler Smith 17 pass from Undre Lindsay (kick missed); MC-Metcalf 27 pass Noller (Adi Turamalla kick); MC-Kaleb Washington 6 pass Noller (Turamalla kick); Metcalf 32 pass Noller (Turamalla kick); Littlejohn 17 pass from Lindsay (Hames kick).