Several things happened in Maumelle’s 29-18 victory over Pottsville last Friday.
For one, the Hornets (7-1, 5-0 4A-4) finally had a close game and even trailed slightly for a bit. Secondly, they avenged a 33-0 defeat to Pottsville last year. Also, the victory kept Maumelle’s quest for a conference title alive.
“Our defense really stepped up, if it just weren’t for the 200 yards of penalties (actually 179),” Maumelle Coach Mike Buchan said. “Michael Perry, their quarterback is an awesome athlete, a (Johnny) Manziel-type. We were on him so quickly.”
It was the defense responsible for the first and last scores of the contest. Linebacker Michael Cole’s 42-yard fumble return gave Maumelle a quick 7-0 lead with 6:26 left in the first quarter. Though Maumelle was ahead 23-18, Blake Conner’s 75-yard interception return on the next to last play of the game sealed the 29-18 triumph.
The Hornets accumulated four interceptions with Don Taggart, JB Minix and JD Russell also recording pickoffs.
“Our offense has trouble with a physical defensive line so it took us awhile,” Buchan said. “We made some big plays and finally came through.”
At the half, the Hornets only led 14-12. The Apaches (7-1, 4-1) took a 12-7 lead in the second quarter after scoring two touchdowns within a span of 1:41. With 59 seconds left in the first half, Maumelle quarterback Tyshun Robinson scored from two yards out. Hunter Cockrell’s point after led to the 14-12 halftime margin.
Neither team reached the end zone in the third period. With 11:57 in the fourth period, Cockrell’s 22-yard field goal increased Maumelle’s lead to 17-13. Pottsville went ahead 18-17 on Perry’s one-yard run with 4:47 left in the game. The Hornet’s took the lead for good, 23-18, on Robinson’s one-yard touchdown run with 1:11 remaining in the contest.
“In the past, when we were playing well and then the other team would go up by one in the third or quarter, we would lose,” Buchan said. “(This time) We pretty much figured out we were going to win.”
Friday, the Hornets travel to Dardanelle (6-2, 3-2). The Sand Lizards’ only two losses are to Pottsville and Booneville. While not as talented as those two, Buchan is hoping Maumelle doesn’t suffer a letdown.
“I’m worried we might be so high from the last game, we might take them for granted,” Buchan said. “They run the same thing we do but are just smaller. We matchup up very well with them but are bigger and faster. If it is a clean game and called well, we should beat them.”