EAST CLEVELAND, OHIO – In the first four plays from scrimmage, the Shaw Cardinals’ ground game looked like the Maple Heights Mustangs were in for a long day.
After Mustangs’ coach Shaq Washington called timeout on the drive, the defense came back into form and shut out the Cardinals 20-0 to even Maple Heights record to 2-2 (2-1 in the Lake Erie League)
“I think we came out with a gameplan, and (assistant coach Aaron) Bubonics noticed some things that needed to change up and adjust,” Washington said.
“He made a great adjustment and it worked for us.”
After the timeout, Shaw (3-1, 1-1) rushed for 38 yards for the rest of the game. (77 total rushing yards). They also forced and recovered three fumbles.
With Shaw’s rushing attack neutralized, Maple Heights had to focus on their passing. The Mustangs’ defense intercepted Shaw three times. Demel Daniels had two.
The Mustangs’ offense struggled to move the ball. Then, they would have a big play to give Maple Heights the momentum to lead to a touchdown.
Sophomore quarterback Dawon King connected with Senior wide receiver Delonte Hall for a 21-yard touchdown to take a 6-0 lead. This was after taking a quick slant 18 yards on a fourth-and-short to keep the chains moving.
“(Hall) is a dynamic player on both sides of the ball,” former D-I wide receiver Washington said.
“He creates a lot of separation. [He has] great hands… Makes great plays and is an awesome competitor.”
The second was a 3-yard touchdown by running back Jaton Payton Jr. to give Maple Heights a 12-0 lead. He previously had a 52-yard run to take the Mustangs from their own 28 yard-line to Shaw’s 20.
12-0 would remain the score for much of the game, because Shaw’s defense was forcing turnovers and punts.
After halftime, Shaw’s defense came out swinging despite the offense’s struggles. It was only a matter of time the defense would break again.
The defense broke in the middle of the fourth quarter as a bad punt gave the Mustangs a really short field to allow King to scramble into the end zone to make the score 20-0 and ice the game.
Touchdown Maple Hts
King runs it in for 6! 2-pt good.
— Mark Perez-Krywany (@MarkPerezK10) September 19, 2020
Despite the win, coach Washington thought his offense had a lot of areas to improve. The first thing being the turnovers. The other improvement being the flags as a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver James Murray was called back in the second half.
“The main (improvement) for us is to clean up the turnovers,” Washington said.
“We turned the ball over two times today. [There were] a lot of penalties. We got touchdowns called back and we just missed a couple opportunities… There is just so much more we can do to become a better team.”
Shaw will hope to get their season back on track as they will host Warrensville Heights on Sept. 26th. Maple Heights will host Garfield Heights on Sept. 25th.
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