Maize South combated Jayden Price’s electrifying unpredictability with a systematic precision that was at times equally exciting.
The Mavericks had no single counterpart for Price, the Mulvane quarterback whose improvisational plays and designed runs are consistently among his team’s highlights.
But by turning to a passing game that reversed some early stagnation, Maize South found its equalizer. Quarterback Ethan Richardson completed 11 of 13 second-half passes and Maize South rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to win 38-35 on the road.
“We saw some stuff in the first half that we kind of thought we could take advantage of,” Maize coach Brent Pfeiffer. “…But I kind of wanted to hold off, if we could, until the second half so they couldn’t make any adjustments to it. It paid off, luckily.
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The Mavericks scored 31 of 38 points during one second-half stretch and Richardson passed for 196 yards in the second half after misfiring on his final four attempts of the first half.
Maize South was occasionally as tantalizing as Price could be. Its first drive of the second half ended when Bradyn Wiens outran a defensive back for a 53-yard touchdown from Richardson, who also had completions of 23 and 27 yards. His final attempt was a 38-yard touchdown to Corey Minks.
Mostly, though, Richardson and the Mavericks used steadiness to come back from a 21-9 halftime deficit. Richardson found receivers on shorter routes and avoided mistakes like the interception that stopped a potential scoring drive near the end of the first half.
“Pfeiffer is more like, ‘Get 10 (yards) if you can,’” Wiens said. “If the big play comes, take it. That’s mostly how it is. We don’t try to get big plays.”
The rally began with a rare misstep from Price on trying to build a play from nothing. On a play that began at the 16-yard line, Price continued to scramble backward, looking for an option, until he found himself in his own end zone. Maize South seized for a safety to trim Mulvane’s 21-7 lead.
That was the first of three consecutive Maize South scores, as the Mavericks barely kept Price from becoming the biggest difference-maker. Price finished with 175 rushing yards and 215 passing yards – 168 to Dalton Blaine – but his only dry spell coincided with Maize South’s resurgence.
Price had a stretch in which he carried nine times for nine yards. He rebounded for a 65-yard touchdown that put Mulvane ahead 28-24 in the fourth quarter, but Maize South scored two straight times to go ahead by 10.
“I don’t know if you can contain a kid like that,” Pfeiffer said. “We had one the last two years (quarterback Korie Frausto) that was special like that. I don’t know that you really work to contain him, you’re just trying to get stops when you can get them and not let the big play happen.”
Mulvane had a chance to take the lead again in the fourth quarter but turned the ball over on downs in Maize South territory. It was the second biggest defensive play of the game, after the safety that spurred a Richardson-guided comeback.
“When it started working,” Richardson said, “we just pretty much decided we were going to keep going with it.”
M—Price 7 run (Coon kick)
M—Blaine 12 pass from Price (Coon kick)
MS—Perez 3 run (Sheehan kick)
M—Blaine 36 pass from Price (Coon kick)
MS—Safety (runner tackled in end zone)
MS—Wiens 53 pass from Richardson (Sheehan kick)
MS—Richardson 1 run (Seiler pass from Richardson)
M—Price 65 run (Coon kick)
MS—Minks 17 run (Sheehan kick)
MS—Minks 38 pass from Richardson (Sheehan kick)
M—Blaine 22 pass from Price (Coon kick)
Rushing—Maize South, Perez 19-46, Richardson 18-31, Minks 3-20, Parke 2-11; Mulvane, Price 27-175, Shoemaker 16-60.
Passing—Maize South, Richardson 19-28-265-1; Mulvane, Price 10-19-0-215.
Receiving—Maize South, Minks 9-99, Seiler 4-64, Wiens 3-82, Parke 1-11, Perez 1-8, Davis 1-1; Mulvane, Blaine 7-190, Callaway 1-14, Ellis 1-6, Myears 1-5.