Seymour and Smith

The passing of quarterback Kaeden Smith (12) combined with the running of De`Monte Seymour (7) to guide the Manvel Mavericks on a game-winning seven-play, 69-yard drive in their 33-28 victory over Katy Paetow, Friday at AISD Freedom Field in Iowa Colony.

(Photo by Michael Edmonds)

IOWA COLONY - Manvel Football celebrated the 10th anniversary of its 2011 state finalist squad with several former players in attendance, Friday night.

The present day Mavericks later took a page from their history-making cardiac predecessors and pulled off a dramatic 33-28 triumph over Katy Paetow at AISD Freedom Field.

The victory moved the Mavs (7-2 overall, 6-1) into a three-way tie atop the 10-5A Division I Football standings with Paetow and Hightower and also assured Kevin Hall’s squad of at least the No. 2 seed for the postseason. Manvel can secure the second seed with a regular season finale win at Houston Milby (Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.) this weekend.

Paetow would still enter the playoffs as the district’s top seed (with a win next week) after beating Hightower (55-7) by 18 or more points the previous week.

However, the Panthers (8-1 overall, 6-1) won’t be going to the second season unblemished, thanks to a heart stopping seven-play, 69-yard march by Manvel after Paetow had reclaimed the upper hand at 28-27.

Mavs’ quarterback Kaeden Smith (8 of 16 for 201 yards, three TD’s) connected with Isiah King (28 and 13 yards) twice for key first down completions in the drive, which De`Monte Seymour capped with a 20-yard ramble around right end with 52 seconds remaining.

Defensive back Jalen O’Neal then sealed the victory by intercepting C.J. Dumas on the first play following the ensuing kickoff.

“That last drive was very emotional,” said Seymour, who rushed for 106 yards on  16 carries and three TD’s. “I told our O-line to keep our heads up, we got this. We kept pushing through and got the touchdown.”

The Mavs’ defense pushed around Paetow’s high powered attack for most of the game, as well, limiting the Panthers (who averaged 55 points per game entering the contest) to a season-low 146 total yards. While the Panthers turned a deflected punt into a short 22-yard TD return by Daymion Sanford on the game’s opening series, the Mavs’ defense kept things from spinning further out of control. Jaric Woodley and Xavier Potts combined for a clutch fourth-and-one stop on Paetow’s Damyrion Phillips to turn the ball over on downs at the Manvel 26-yard line on the first quarter’s final play.

Smith then got the Mavs out of a third-and-16 hole midway in the second with a 40-yard scramble to the Panthers’ 16-yard line, which set up Seymour’s first TD on the next play with 6:49 remaining.

Antonio Rodriguez’s PAT evened the issue at 7-7.

“I told our kids all week long that this will be the most physical team they will have played and if you don’t match their physicality, they’re going to blow you off the field,” Hall said. “Our emphasis all week was being the more physical team. I don’t know if we were the most physical, because it looked like two evenly physical teams who are going to be real sore tomorrow.

“But I told our kids to be physical and execute. When push came to shove at the end, we made a couple of plays, got it in and won the game. You will probably have to play a team like that again if you want to win it all. But our kids were focused all week long and this was fun.”

The Mavs seized the momentum with touchdowns on their first second half possessions. Seymour motored 41 yards to the end zone and Smith lofted a perfect 61-yard strike in stride to Isaiah King for a 21-7 Manvel lead midway through the third quarter.

King also had a huge night with five receptions for 191 yards and two TD’s.

However, Paetow answered with a pair of Dumas’ 1-yard runs to tie things again at 21-21 early in the final period. Smith then hooked up with King again with an electrifying 81-yard bomb on the ensuing series for a 27-21 Manvel advantage with 9:41 left

However, a blocked extra point and a rare roughing the snapper call a few minutes later on the Mavs during a Paetow punt ultimately left an opening for the Panthers to reclaim the upper hand on Phillips’ 19-yard run with 3:23 remaining.

Smith immediately found King for a 28-yard gain on the first play following the kickoff, though, to spark the Mavs’ game winning drive.

“Early on, I think he (Smith) had some butterflies,” Hall said. “But we finally got back King, who’s been injured quite a bit and he had two phenomenal catches off two phenomenal throws by Kaeden and I couldn’t be more proud of the way those two hooked up.

The running backs pounded and scratched for every yard and then we got a couple of breaks, which really helped us.”

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