Something about playing at AISD Memorial Stadium brings out the best statements in the Manvel Mavericks.
While they may now be regularly hosting games at Freedom Field in Iowa Colony, the Mavericks made the most of playing at their former facility for the first time in two-and-a half years Friday night.
Manvel erupted for 21 unanswered points in the third quarter and 35 total in the second half to upend Richmond Foster 66-28 to capture the 10-5A Division I Football Championship.
The Falcons entered the contest as the top ranked Houston area squad in Class 5A, while the Mavs (5-1 overall, 3-0 in district) carried the No. 3 tag. However, after dismantling Foster for 678 total yards and 36 first downs, the target will now probably be on Manvel’s back, as head coach Kevin Hall pointed out to his team following the game.
“We came out and played our best ball game of the year and played the best in all three phases in the five years I’ve been at Manvel,” Hall said. “We put a lot of time in it and it showed. I’m tickled to death.”
Manvel held a 10-point cushion at 31-21 entering the second, but a 55-yard kickoff return by Lemarkus Owens quickly opened the floodgates to open the third quarter.
Davyon Henderson dashed 25 yards on a reverse on the next play following Owens’ return and after the Mavs’ defense forced a Falcons’ punt, Ty Harris capped a short four-play series with a 34-yard sprint to the end zone to make it 45-21 with 7:46 left.
Foster continued to unravel with Mavs’ cornerback Malachi McLean picking off Phillip Amy on the ensuing series and De`Monte Seymour converted the miscue into another Manvel score on a 13-yard run six plays later.
A.J. Prowell finally broke the dry spell for Foster with a 4-yard TD run to cut the deficit to 52-28, but the Mavs continued their end zone assault with Jordon Vaughn adding 58 and 33-yard exclamation scoring runs.
“This was really a good football team we played,” Hall said. “We came out and did a good job offensively There were dumb penalties on third and long in the first half to keep their drives alive. We talked about it at the half. They came out and corrected them.
“We got a young football team and a bunch of young guys starting. It’s a growth process. There have been some growing pains, but I saw us take a leap tonight.”
Xavier Smallwood’s 10-yard run capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive on the game’s opening drive to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead, Seymour answered just three plays later by exploding 66 yards to tie it and the Mavs never trailed again.
Quarterback Gabriel Larry scooted 15 yards on a keeper to give Manvel the lead for good at 14-7 with 1:38 still left in the first, while Antonio Rodriguez’s 29-yard field goal and Larry’s 40-yard TD fling to Jalen Walthall increased the margin to 24-7 almost midway in the second quarter.
Smallwood broke loose for a 43-yard run to pull Foster within 24-14 a little later, but Harris capped with a six play, 75-yard march with a 26-yard run to push Manvel’s lead back to 17 at 31-14 with 2:44 remaining before intermission.
The Mavs exploded for 498 total rushing yards with both Seymour (145 yards on 21 carries, two TD’s) and Vaughn (116 yards on four carries, two TD’s) both breaking the century mark. Collin Wright also intercepted a pair of Foster passes.
Manvel’s opponent for this week is currently unknown. Hall said the team is looking into several possibilities, including playing crossover games with Zone A teams in the district.