The Maize Eagles’ defense has gone 20 quarters without allowing a single point.
The Goddard Lions on Friday became the first team to get anything on the board against Maize, but the Eagles’ defense remains unbreakable.
“I’m just proud of the kids, proud of the way they played,” said Maize coach Gary Guzman, whose team improved to 5-0. “The defense played very well, and they gave our offense multiple opportunities.”
Both teams were unbeaten before this game. Goddard (4-1) wasn’t just hoping to hand Maize its first loss of the season, it was eyeing the chance to be the first team to score on the Eagles.
The first half seemed to be anyone’s game. Goddard got on the board first, but that was the first and only time of the game Goddard would score.
After a series of mistakes, Maize’s offense found itself pushed back all the way to Goddard’s end zone. The Lions got a safety — the second week in a row that Goddard scored first with one.
Every chance Maize saw to score in the first half vanished in the Lions’ stout defense and an inability to finish its own drives. On the defensive end, the Maize/Goddard matchup was the closest the two teams have seen all season.
“Offense was struggling the first half, but Goddard has a really good defense — probably the best defense we’ve seen all season,” senior linebacker Carson Shively said. “We had to make some adjustments.”
Guzman said his team “kind of freaked out” in the first half, having never trailed in a game this season.
“We’ve never been in that position,” he said.
It wasn’t until the final minute of the first half that Maize scored. Senior quarterback Caleb Grill found junior wide receiver KJ Hampton for a four-yard touchdown.
“We finally just came together,” Grill said. “We were doing the same things we were doing, but just finishing our drives.”
After securing the 7-2 lead into the halftime, Guzman took the opportunity to remind his players of something he forgot to mention before the game.
“We just had to calm them down,” Guzman said. “I always tell them to go out and have fun and enjoy the game. I forgot to say that to them before the game, but I made sure to at halftime.”
That set up the Eagles up for an explosive second half.
Maize scored three more touchdowns and managed to keep Goddard scoreless the remainder of the game — even when the Lions were just yards away from the end zone.
During the last series of the game, Goddard came within just three yards of scoring on Maize’s defense. But the Eagles weren’t ready to lose their streak just yet.
Maize forced Goddard to fumble and recovered the ball.
“In those situations, we just try to keep our same mentality of to bend, not break,” Shively said. “We focus on that every game.”