Don't blame the Metea Valley Mustangs if they aren't big fans of the big play after Friday's 47-27 defeat at the hands of the visiting Bartlett Hawks.
Three big runs by Hawks tailback Aaron Everson pushed Bartlett to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division. Everson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, one 90 yards and the other 82. Another touchdown run was for 41 yards.
He finished with 6 touchdowns and rushed for 159 yards on 36 carries. Teammate Nick Garcia intercepted three passes, including one for a 52-yard touchdown that closed out the scoring.
"I'm very pleased with (Everson's) effort. A lot of that comes from the price the offensive line pays in practice. Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, they go full tilt. We're not really big (on the line), so we have to go on heart and guts," said Bartlett coach Tom Meaney. "Metea is a good team. They stopped some things we thought we could do."
The Mustangs (1-3, 0-2) gave a strong four-quarter effort. But when they made progress on the field, they immediately took steps back with Bartlett's big plays.
The offense was at its best with less than four minutes to play. Quarterback Blaise Bell, who threw for 186 yards, went to Blaze Miller in the second half. Miller finished with 5 catches for 86 yards, including a 13-yard scoring catch that made it 33-24 with 3:42 left in the game.
Miller recovered the onside kick and the Mustangs capped the subsequent drive with a 26-yard field goal by Nick Dodsen, hoping with 2:02 remaining that they would get the ball back with the score 33-27. Dodsen kicked a 32-yard field goal earlier in the game.
"It's the same old thing. We shoot ourselves in the foot," said Metea Valley coach Ben Kleinhans. "We fight all the way back and turn it over.
"They have to learn to understand what winning football is. We're a young program. The first part was learning about effort and committment. The second part is learning how to win."