With win at Scott, Mavs go six years without a region loss
Davey Gillum found himself walking a fine line Friday night.
After his team jumped out to a 49-0 halftime lead over Scott High on the way to a 56-13 Region2-4A win, the Anderson County High School head football coach did the unusual.
It was after the Mavs reached a 49-0 margin. With three minutes still left in the first half, Gillum rested starting quarterback Walker Martinez and star running back Nick Moog.
In their stead were lineman-turned-quarterback Jayden Bullock and lineman-turned-running back Lucas May.
May rushed for nearly 30 yards in six attempts. Bullock completed a pass to Eli Davis for eight yards, and suddenly the Mavs were knocking 14 yards away from another score with plenty of time to do so.
And that was not the intention.
Gillum called time out, sent Martinez back in, and the starting quarterback took a knee to run out the clock.
“We’re just trying to have a backup plan in case Walker gets hurt,” Gillum said, deadpan, about the backfield switch. “He’s (Bullock) really good at sticking out in practice, and I thought we’d give him some game reps and see how he did under pressure.”
On a serious note, Gillum said, “It’s hard. You don’t want to disrespect the other team, but you want to let your kids play.”
The call for the knee was a class act.
With the win Anderson County has gone undefeated in region play for six years straight.
The Mavericks did what the Mavericks were supposed to do and it was evident from the first snap of the game how that was going to turn out.
Walker connected with Zeke West and 65 yards later the Mavs were on the scoreboard.
After three plays the Highlanders either found the rush on the punt too much to work against or figured, “What do we have to lose” and went for it fourth down.
That didn’t work.
One more play from the line of scrimmage and Nick Moog had a five-yard touchdown.
There were just under nine minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Highlanders did put together a mini-drive — thanks to a true fake punt on fourth down and a 20-plus yard completion — and thanks the grit of Highlander quarterback Brady Strunk, who took whatever the Mavs were willing to give him.
“He’s a big, tough, strong kid,” Gillum said of the Scott signal caller. “He’s physical. He’s a football player.”
The Mav defense, however, got the ball back to the offense with 2:30 left in the first quarter.
The following drive would be the longest scoring drive by the Mav starting crew — five plays eating up 1:14 seconds of clock capped by an eight-yard TD pass to West.
The second quarter was much of the same.
A 51-yard play from Walker to Braden Miller (one play); a 66-yard pass, catch, and run from Martinez to Moog (one play); a 51-yard drive in three plays with Martinez connecting with Cole Phillips (1:18 seconds); and a 37-yard perfect rainbow for an over-the-should touchdown catch from Martinez to Jermaine Allen.
With Chris Nelson perfect on point after attempts, the score stood 49-0 and it was time to call in the backup(?) quarterback.
The junior varsity Mavs gave up two scores to the Highlanders — one in the third quarter and one in the fourth quarter — to narrow the gap to 49-13. The junior Mavs made a brilliant stand on a two-point attempt that would have returned the clock to normal timing.
Then Waylon LaRue made no doubt about the continuous clock continuing by rushing for 32 yards in two carries and a score. Josh Valero kept the PAT streak going with a longer than usual PAT due to a flag for the 56-13 final.
“Walker was lights out. The receivers were lights out,” Gillum said. “We did what we had to do.”
Unofficially, Lucas May was the leading rusher for the Mavs with 31 yards. Moog garnered 29 on two carries, and a touchdown, and Walker Martinez took was one attempt for -5 when he was called to kneel at the end of the first half.
Mr. Football contender Walker Martinez was all-world through the air. Unofficially hitting 10 of 11 passes for 232 yards and seven touchdowns.
Gillum said despite the scores, the Highlanders gave a good accounting of themselves.
“We’re one or two in the state and they’ a little further down the line. We did what we’re supposed to do,” the coach said.
“I’ve been on the other end of it. It’s a harder battle to put a team on the field like we do.”