Patriots Win Big Over Chiefs On Homecoming
MADISON – The strobe lights dimmed, and a hush came over the large homecoming crowd at Patriot Field. With the soft spotlight on the entire homecoming court, the suspense built as everyone awaited who was going to be announced as this year’s MRA homecoming queen.
A few moments later, the answer came: Senior Lydia McIntosh.
Rest assured, that was the only drama Friday night, as MRA cruised past Magnolia Heights 59-7. The Patriots scored 28 points in the first quarter and 28 more in the second quarter en route to their sixth straight win after a 1-3 start.
Heck, most of the games the students participated in during the day as part of homecoming festivities were much more competitive.
Quarterback John White threw four touchdown passes in the first half. One of those went to freshman running back Quincy Phillips, who also added a couple of touchdown runs. The Patriots’ defense dominated for the second straight week, limiting the Chiefs to 101 total yards – 42 coming on a fourth quarter touchdown pass against the MRA backups with the Patriots leading 59-0.
Two-time defending MAIS Class 6A champion MRA improved to 7-3 entering next week’s game at Parklane. The Patriots are 3-0 in conference games with two games remaining. They host Hartfield the following week in the regular season finale.
MRA has lost only one game to an MAIS opponent in its last 38 games. The Patriots have only lost three of their last 29 and six of their last 49 games overall.
“It’s in our hands, that’s all we want,” MRA head coach Herbert Davis said. “We’ve got two conference games left, if we can take care of our business we can wrap up that No. 1 seed and get ready for the playoffs.
“We came in with a good mindset after taking off Monday and had two good days of practice then finished it off yesterday,” Davis continued. “We came out here tonight and executed. And, everybody got to play . . . it was one of those feel good games. It’s one of those games where you wish your starters could’ve played more, but at the same time it’s good to get everybody in there and get game experience. There’s nothing like it down the road.”
All MRA has done lately is win, and they’ve done so with a high-scoring offense and an ever-improving defense. The Patriots have now scored 50 or more points in three straight games, and could possibly make it four straight next week against a struggling Parklane team. The Pioneers are 3-6 overall, 0-3 in conference play following a 27-13 loss to PCS. That’s the same PCS team that MRA defeated 58-5 a week ago.
White and Co. are averaging 41.8 points per game this season. The Patriots eclipsed that number in the first half Friday, scoring touchdowns on all seven of their possessions. The other touchdown came on a 17-yard return by D.J. Gainwell after Magnolia Heights fumbled on a kickoff. Matthew Latham delivered the big hit, and Gainwell scooped up the loose pigskin and raced into the end zone. That was one of two forced fumbles and recoveries on kickoffs for MRA on this night.
With the Patriots’ defense stymying the Chiefs’ heavy-RPO laden offense from the outset, MRA started in enemy territory on five of its seven first half possessions. That’s not a good formula for success if you’re an opponent facing the Patriots’ offense, which features multiple playmakers and a savvy quarterback capable of getting the ball to them. White completed 18 of his 19 pass attempts for 224 yards before giving way to backup Ethan Mallett late in the second quarter.
He threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Davis Dalton on MRA’s second offensive play. He also had a 14-yard touchdown pass to Phillips, a 2-yard scoring pass to Charles Simpson and a 6-yarder to Pax Hughes. In his last two games, White, a sophomore with offers from Southern Miss and Liberty, is 32 of 37 for 478 yards and eight touchdowns in a little less than four quarters of action. Is that good? In his last seven games, he’s completed 74 percent of his passes for nearly 2,300 yards and 25 touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown an interception in his last three games.
White and Mallett spread the ball around to 11 different players against Magnolia Heights, which dropped to 3-6. Toler had four catches for 58 yards. Ty Brooks, who recently returned from injury, also had four catches totaling 46 yards. Dalton, MRA’s leading receiver, had three catches for 39 yards and the one touchdown.
Phillips added touchdown runs of 9 and 11 yards and J.J. Latham a 10-yard scoring run for MRA, which finished with 425 yards of total offense and 22 first downs.
“Q is young, he’s talented no doubt,” Davis said. “But we feel like we’ve got five good running backs. We feel good with any of those guys in there.”
Meanwhile, the MRA defense has allowed only 220 total yards and 10 points over the last two games. During the recent six game win streak, the Patriots are allowing only 188.1 yards and 9.3 points per game. In MRA’s seven wins, the Patriots are allowing only 172.7 yards and nine points per game.
In MRA’s seven victories, the Patriots are winning by an average margin of 38.4 points per game. Running clocks in the second half have become vogue indeed.
“Sometimes these type games aren’t as exciting, but they are still fun,” Toler said. “It’s fun watching the younger guys get in and compete. Of course, we’ve got to stay focused and get ready for every game like it’s the same.”