Maize South’s performance against Collegiate on Friday showed changes from last year’s team — one that had trouble starting a game but performed well in the second half.
Friday’s 24-point first half by the Mavericks was followed by a scoreless second half. But a tough defense helped Maize South to a 24-10 home victory.
“Last year we had issues at the start of the game, and we would finish great,” Maize South coach Brent Pfeifer said. “This year, we spent a lot of time talking about that. Well, evidently we spent a lot of time talking about starting great, but not finishing well, so we need to put both sides together.”
Maize South took control of the game when it stopped Collegiate in three plays, allowing two yards, and then took four plays for Remington Smith to run 43 yards for a touchdown.
Maize South stopped the Spartans in three quick plays again, then DeSean Washington returned a punt for a 61-yard touchdown with 8:50 remaining in the first quarter.
“Since Week 3, the kids have came out at the start of the game and just perfected the game plan, just run it exactly the way we want,” Pfeifer said. “It’s just learning for those young guys in the backfield how to maintain that as the game goes.”
Collegiate’s defense slowly started to adjust to Maize South’s offense, but seven seconds into the second quarter, the Mavericks scored again.
The Spartans recovered a fumble during Maize South’s next offensive drive, but the Mavericks intercepted Collegiate quarterback Landon Root two plays later — leading to a Maize South field goal. But despite what seemed like an unstoppable Maize South offense, it would not score again.
“We gave them a couple of short fields and they capitalized on it,” Collegiate coach Mike Gehrer said. “I’m very proud of our defense after that; we gave up 24 points and then basically shut them down after that.”
Root started to find Seth Carder and Austin Waddell, connecting with Waddell for a 25-yard gain, and with Carder for a one-yard touchdown with three seconds remaining in the first half, still facing a 24-7 deficit.
The Spartans stopped Maize South’s offense on its first offensive attempt of the second half, while moving the ball down to Maize South’s 15-yard line from the Spartans’ own 20-yard line for its first drive. But the Mavericks’ defense stopped Collegiate’s drive, allowing only a field goal.
Maize South forced Collegiate to turn the ball over on downs after a 45-yard drive, and a 27-yard drive in the fourth quarter. The Spartans only allowed Maize South 26 offensive yards in the period.
“For us, the defense is so important, and they’ve done it all season, put us in a position to win ball games, and it’s just up to our offense now to fix it,” Pfeifer said.
Collegiate’s leading receiver, Bret Waddell, injured his knee during the game and did not return.
M — Smith 43 run (Galliher kick)
M — Washington 61 run (punt return) (Galliher kick)
M — Bell 2 run (Galliher kick)
M — Galliher 35 field goal
C — Carder 1 pass from Root (Moxley kick)
C — Moxley 32 field goal
Rushing — Collegiate, Simms 11-22, Carder 7-16, A. Waddell 1-9, Burgoyne 1-3, Root 7-2. Maize South, Smith 10-67, Bell 13-47, Scifres 13-38, Maxson 4-18.
Passing — Collegiate, Root 15-34-199-2. Maize South, Bell 1-4-5-0.
Receiving — Collegiate, Carder 5-64, A. Waddell 3-51, Simms 1-33, Larsen 2-26, Copher 2-16, Flamini 2-9. Maize South, Donaldson 1-5.