IOWA COLONY - While the second week match-up between Manvel and Crosby required another down-to-the-wire finish, the Mavericks’ defense came to the rescue this time around.
Cougars’ running back Leonadre Smith was tackled for a three-yard loss on fourth-and-two inside the MHS 10-yard line in the closing minutes to preserve a 39-27 Manvel triumph Thursday night at AISD’s Freedom Field.
The Mavs moved to 2-0 with the victory and also avenged a 49-47 defeat to Crosby from the teams’ previous meeting. The Cougars scored on the game’s final play to prevail in the 2018 non-district encounter.
Thursday’s contest provided no work of art blueprint either with 295 combined yards in penalties plaguing the three-hour plus affair. Manvel was flagged 16 times for 154 yards and the Cougars were penalized 13 times for 141 yards.
“We got to learn to quit jumping offsides, we got to learn to quit holding and to recover after a penalty,” Mavs’ head coach Kevin Hall said following the game. “That’s all I can say about that.”
Crosby took only five plays to reach the end zone on the game’s opening possession. Quarterback Deniquez Dunn hooked up with Jalen Hermann on a 47-yard pass play, while the Cougars were stopped short on the two-point conversion run attempt to leave it at 6-0 early on.
Manvel promptly responded with a quick five-play, 67-yard march of its own. Donovan Eaglin broke loose for 33 yards to the Crosby 35-yard line and three plays later, Jalen Walthall turned a first-down pass from signal caller Tucker Yarborough into a 30-yard trip to pay dirt with 8:24 left in the opening period.
Antonio Rodriguez booted the extra point through the uprights to give Manvel the upper hand at 7-6.
Yarborough had another big evening under center with 19 completions in 33 attempts for 308 yards and four TD’s, while Eaglin reached the century mark on the ground with 142 yards on 13 carries and one TD.
“I thought our offense stepped up in a lot of ways compared to last week,” Hall said. “We’re still dropping balls and not throwing it where it needs to be thrown. But there’s no doubt, our offense took a big step forward this week.”
Yarborough found Walthall again with a 15-yard scoring strike to increase Manvel’s lead to 14-6 into the second period. Smith’s one yard run climaxed a 10-play drive to draw Crosby within 14-13. However, the Mavs again answered a Cougars’ TD with back-to-back scores.
Walthall hauled in a 23-yard toss from Yarborough, while Deundre Potts fulfilled the defensive lineman’s ultimate dream with an interception to set up Eaglin’s 43-yard ramble with 3:05 remaining in the period to make it 27-13.
Crosby drove deep into Manvel territory in the closing seconds, but Trevor Helburg’s 43-yard field goal attempt fell short of the mark to leave it a two-score Mavs’ cushion at the break.
“I told him (Potts) when he came to the bench that was a nice catch and maybe we should move him to corner,” Hall said. “He looked at me and said oh no coach. But I was so proud of him on that play and thought he played a really good game overall. That’s two weeks in a row that he has played really good.”
Manvel appeared to break things open with another two-touchdown outburst to start the third quarter. Yarborough lofted a perfect 65-yard strike to Jalen Paxton just two plays into the second half, while the Mavs converted a botched Crosby punt snap into Jordon Vaughn’s eight-yard run for a 39-13 Manvel lead with 10 minutes left.
Dunn and the Cougars refused to go away, though. The junior signal caller went in from 10 yards out on the ensuing series and exploded for a 67-yarder a few minutes later to pull Crosby within 39-27 entering the fourth.
Dunn rushed for 193 yards on 21 carries and two TD’s, while adding 130 through the air.
However, the Mavs came through with a pair of clutch fourth-down defensive stops during the final 12 minutes to seal the victory.
“We didn’t play as good as we did last week,” Hall said about his defense. “I was kind of disappointed about a lot of the calls that we were sending in, they weren’t running. I don’t what it is. We will get to the bottom of it. Maybe they got a little big headed last week.
“This football team (Crosby) has a great offense and I think this was good for our defense.”
Manvel next opens 11-5A Division II play by hosting Sharpstown on Sept. 12 at Freedom Field.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
MAVS’ FOOTBALL NOTES - Lineman Demetrius Foley halted a potential Crosby scoring drive with a fumble recovery at the Manvel 18-yard line late in the third quarter.