Vance High football coach Glenwood Ferebee said he expected his team, the reigning N.C. 4AA state champions, to dominate in its season-opener with national power Mallard Creek.
It just took the Cougars a while to do it.
Vance won 27-7 by running the ball heavily in the second half, and turning a 7-0 halftime lead into a 20-0 lead in the third quarter.
“We talked about it at halftime,” Ferebee said. “We play fast. We play up tempo, and usually what happens in the second half, teams get tired. We said, ‘When we come out, let’s go ahead and impose our will and see how they respond.’”
On a cold night with intermittent rain falling throughout the game, it was Vance that was better able to adapt to the elements. The Cougars racked up 268 rushing yards led by sophomore running back Daylan Smothers, who ran for 162 yards, including 100 in the first half. Smothers also rushed for a pair of 5-yard touchdowns.
Vance scored the only points of the first half on its second possession of the first quarter. Smothers rumbled 5 yards for a touchdown capping off an eight-play, 70-yard drive.
Leading 7-0 at the half, the Cougars took the second-half kickoff and went 75 yards in only six plays (all runs) as Vance increased its lead to 13-0. Smothers ripped off four consecutive runs of 13, 11, 11, and 17 yards. Joseph Morris finished the drive with a 12-yard TD run.
After the Cougars went up 20-0 entering the final quarter, Mallard Creek finally scored on a 4-yard run by quarterback Xavion Brower to cut the Vance lead to 20-7. Midway through the fourth quarter the Cougars put the game away with a 5-yard rushing TD by quarterback Austin Grier.
While the result was not what Tinsley wanted, the first-year Mavericks’ coach did talk about how good it was to get back on the football field.
“Definitely excited about the opportunity to play and get back going,” said Tinsley. “It’s been a long time waiting.”
THREE WHO MATTERED:
Sophomore RB Daylan Smothers, Vance: Had 162 rushing yards including 100 in the first half while also rushing for a pair of scores.
Junior QB Xavion Browser, Mallard Creek: Tried to will the Mavericks back from a 20-0 deficit with 76 yards rushing on 20 carries and a 4-yard TD run.
Senior LB Jyilek Harrington, Vance: Picked off a Mallard Creek pass in the first half to halt a Mavericks’ scoring drive.
▪ Due to COVID-19 regulations, only 100 Mallard Creek (home) fans were allowed to attend Friday’s game. Next weekend the number increases to 500.
Records: Vance (1-0), Mallard Creek (0-1)
What’s next: Vance will travel to Hopewell next Friday; In two weeks, on Friday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m., Mallard Creek will visit West Charlotte.
Vance 7 0 13 7 — 27
Mallard Creek 0 0 0 7 — 7
V: Daylan Smothers 6 run: (Melvin Benitez kick)
V: Joseph Morris 12 run; (kick blocked)
V: Austin Grier 6 run; (Benitez kick)
MC: Xavion Browser 4 run; (Aditya Turamalla kick)
V: Smothers 5 run; (Benitez kick)