Mulvane’s challenge figured to be difficult whether or not senior quarterback Jayden Price played Friday against Maize South.
Price spent his evening in street clothes with a walking boot on his left foot, sidelined by a high ankle sprain. And the Mavericks’ formidable defense capitalized.
Maize South forced three first-half turnovers en route to a 35-point halftime lead, then cruised to a 42-6 victory over the visiting Wildcats.
Senior Max Domnick fueled Maize South’s offense with 144 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the Mavericks (4-1) bounced back strong after a 17-14 loss to Buhler a week ago.
“We didn’t know Jayden was going to play until yesterday, of course,” Maize South senior defensive back Tristen Knoblauch said. “We prepared like he was going to play. The coaches put in a great report to prepare us for the game, and it was a great effort.”
Price, a North Dakota State commit, accounted for 1,175 offensive yards in Mulvane’s first four games. But his injury left the Wildcats’ offense in the hands of junior Drew Ellis, who moved over to quarterback after establishing himself as one of Price’s favorite receiving targets.
Ellis’ assignment came against a Maize South defense that recorded shutouts in each of its first three games. And after Domnick ignited the home crowd with a 55-yard touchdown run in the game’s opening minute, his sophomore teammate, Trevion Mitchell, intercepted Ellis on Mulvane’s second offensive play.
Maize South quarterback Ryan Grabman covered 39 yards on two consecutive running plays – the latter a 3-yard touchdown run -- and the Mavericks’ lead was 14-0 less than two minutes into the game.
Before the first quarter was over, an errant punt snap gave Maize South the ball at Mulvane’s 21. Grabman connected with Bradyn Wiens on a fourth-down slant pass for a 15-yard touchdown that capped the Mavericks’ 21-point first quarter.
“It was a rough way to start,” Mulvane coach Dave Fennewald said. “We spotted them a 21-0 lead with our turnovers. You can’t win a game in the first quarter, but you can lose it, and that kind of showed tonight.”
Maize South forced Ellis to fumble early in the second quarter, setting up a 30-yard scoring drive. Domnick barreled into the end zone from the 1 as the Mavericks scored on four of their first six possessions.
A 12-yard run by Domnick later in the quarter stretched Maize South’s lead to 35-0.
Ellis finished 9 of 18 passing with two interceptions for 50 yards. The Wildcats were limited to 46 rushing yards, as 17 of their 35 attempts went for zero or negative yards.
Maize South took its bid for another shutout deep into the fourth quarter. After the Mavericks’ lone turnover, Mulvane had first and goal at Maize South’s 5, but was pushed back to the 32 before its drive stalled.
The Wildcats broke through with 35 seconds remaining when freshman Tanner Claar connected with Tyler Lanzrath on a 23-yard halfback pass.
“We’ve got a lot of defensive players back from last year,” Maize South senior defensive end John Moses said. “We know the coaches, we know the playing style, we know our positions really well.
“We’re watching film, we’re adapting and I think we’re really clicking.”
Mulvane (3-2) will be without Price for at least one more game and likely longer, Fennewald said. Ellis’ next start will come at Conway Springs.
“This was great experience for Drew along with the kids around him – the offensive line, the receivers,” Fennewald said. “We just need to get him more confidence each week.”
Mulvane (3-2) 0 0 0 6 – 6
Maize South (4-1) 21 14 0 7 – 42
MS—Domnick 55 run (Bliss kick)
MS—Grabman 3 run (Bliss kick)
MS—Wiens 15 pass from Grabman (Bliss kick)
MS—Domnick 1 run (Bliss kick)
MS—Domnick 12 run (Bliss kick)
MS—Grabman 40 run (E. Wiens kick)
Mul—Lanzrath 23 pass froom Claar (run failed)
Rushing—Mulvane, Diffenbaugh 11-36, Claar 3-28, Benefiel 2-5, Ellis 17-(-2), Johnson 1-(-7), Team 1-(-14). Maize South, Domnick 24-144, Grabman 8-93, Minks 4-37, Edwards 9-31, Bliss 4-11, Team 1-(-28).
Passing—Mulvane, Ellis 9-18-2-50, Claar 1-1-0-23, Creekmoore 2-2-0-19. Maize South, Grabman 7-13-0-52.
Receiving—Mulvane, Johnson 5-35, Lanzrath 2-33, Schmidt 2-13, Greer 1-9, Webb 1-2, Walker 1-0. Maize South, B. Wiens 3-40, Bliss 3-10, Domnick 1-2.