Midland Valley head coach Rick Knight said his team did it again – shot itself in the foot that is.
Before the end of the first quarter of their Class AAA third round playoff game with Georgetown, the Mustangs found themselves down two scores and with no momentum. Then, Daniel Carr came to the rescue again to lead the Mustangs (9-4) to 27 unanswered points and a 27-12 victory Friday night to put his team in next week’s Lower State final against Myrtle Beach.
“It’s huge,” Knight said. “We did enough. Defensively, I thought we played exceptional, and then we made enough plays to win the game.”
For a wounded Georgetown – playing without Cavonte Gamble and Tony Lara for the final three quarters – the loss ended a record-setting season in which the Bulldogs won two home playoff games for the first time in program history. The pair of injuries had Georgetown playing without its leading rusher and leading receiver, and the Bulldogs never recovered.
“We came out playing very good football. But [losing Gamble and Lara] caused us some problems,” Georgetown coach Bradley Adams said. “I thought our defense played well, we just had a hard time scoring points. I have to give credit to [Midland Valley’s] defense, they did a great job of slowing us down all night.”
Lara and Gamble were responsible for the Bulldogs’ (9-4) best drive of the night. The two connected on a 64-yard pass in the first quarter, and then Lara pounded the ball in from a few yards out plays later. On the next Midland Valley drive, Gamble went down while defending a third-down pass near the sideline. On the following play, Reggie Point scooped up a blocked field goal on the 1-yard line and returned it for a touchdown.
Knight said the difference was when his team finally adjusted to the Georgetown defense. Daniel Carr found Stephon Morency for the first of his three passing touchdowns. Carr finished the game with 246 yards on 20 of 34 passing.
“Well all you see is what’s on film when preparing, and you don’t have anything to relate to as far as personnel is concerned,” Knight said. “They were a lot bigger and tougher up front than I thought they’d be. I’m glad we responded.”
However, the biggest play of the game for Midland Valley came on defense.
Despite the missing offensive production, the Bulldogs seemed poised to take a lead into halftime until Jaquan McCorkle intercepted Jarvis Brown with under 30 seconds left in the half. Three plays later, Daniel Carr connected with Zach Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown to give Midland Valley a 14-12 lead, and for the second week in a row, the Mustangs stole the momentum heading into the locker room and never looked back.
Carr led the Mustangs down the field on the opening drive of the second half and found Xavier Leaphart for his final touchdown of the night. Carr came up limping and reaching for his hamstring late in the game, but stayed in for all but one drive. The Mustangs’ defense eased the need for the quarterback to do too much with his feet by shutting out Georgetown in the second half. Knight said he expects Carr to be good to go for next week’s Lower State championship
“You’ve got to tip your hat to that defense over there,” Adams said “Midland Valley has a lot of team speed.”
Dre’Kwon Carr added a touchdown to cap the scoring and finished with 142 yards on 30 carries.
Adams was appreciative of his seniors for stepping up regularly for the program and setting a precedent for some of the younger guys.
“We’re thankful for what we’ve been able to do this year and I’m thankful for all the seniors that have led this program over the past few years. We’ve made huge strides as a program and want to carry that over into next year,” Adams said. “What they have done this year, for this program and this town is truly remarkable. They’ve led this football team and carried us on their back over the past few seasons and have built a foundation for all our players to follow in their footsteps and be successful.”
Max McKinnon of The Sun News contributed to the report.