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The return of Nick Moog

Senior back leads Mavs in defense of region title

  • After rushing for 114 yards and four touchdowns, Maverick senior running back Nick Moog said his offensive line “dominated.” Senior Eli Nelson (52) clears the path on this run. - Ricky Williams

  • Anderson County High School senior Xavian James makes the “Superman” catch against Fulton last Friday — flying through the air to make the grab. - Ricky Williams

For the past two weeks, Anderson County High senior running back Nick Moog could only watch helplessly from the sideline as his teammates struggled.

Moog, who was injured in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss at Powell, missed ACHS’s next two games against Science Hill and Bearden. The Mavs lost those games.

But he returned Friday night as the Mavericks routed Fulton 50-14 at Bob Black Field in North Knoxville — and he wasted little time making an impact as Anderson County found its way into the win column for the first time in 2023.

Moog rushed for 114 yards and four touchdowns as he toted the football 22 times.

“It’s great to be back,” said Moog, who was also injured in last year’s Class 4A state championship game. “It was great to be back out there and help the team win and this really sets up for what’s next for us.

“The offensive line dominated them.”

The Mavs (1-3 overall, 1-0 in Region 2-4A) also dominated the game on defense and special teams as they held the Falcons (0-4, 0-1) to just six first downs, and scored a safety when an errant snap on a punt attempt went sailing through the end zone, ending Fulton’s first possession.

“It was great to have Nick back out there, and our defense really played well,” Anderson County Coach Davey Gillum said. “Fulton has some good athletes, and you have to decide how to manage them.

“When we looked at film, we saw that everybody was scared of it and they played prevent (defense), but we decided that we were going to come after them.”

And come after the Falcons, the Mavericks did.

Anderson County’s starting defense was dominant. The Mavericks kept the Falcons off the scoreboard over the first 24 minutes and held Fulton to just one first down before halftime.

Meanwhile, Moog had three of his short touchdown runs in the first half, and Zae Hall had an early 57-yard touchdown pass to Xavian Johnson, giving the Mavericks a 30-0 lead after scoring 23 first-quarter points.

Hall connected with Johnson on a 30-yard scoring strike with 2 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the second stanza to give the Mavericks the 37-0 advantage they enjoyed at halftime.

The second half was played with a running clock, but he Mavs added two more touchdowns after the break.

Moog had a 16-yard run early in the third quarter, and Mason Ekerson threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Johnson. It was Johnson’s first career TD catch.

The Falcons had two touchdowns after the game’s outcome was no longer in doubt.

Next up for the Mavericks: Anderson County returns home Friday as it hosts Seymour (0-4, 0-1) in another regional contest.