Mathews extends win streak to three games
You have to go back a long ways—17 years to be exact—to find the last time the Mathews High School varsity football team got off to such a good start.
Mathews completely dominated the visiting Northumberland Indians on Friday night. The 49-30 win improved the Devils’ record to 3-0. Chris Davis sliced through the Indian defense for touchdown runs of 8, 13, 26 and 60 yards, while backfield colleague James Pavik scored on a couple 1-yard dives. Wide receiver Deondre Foster picked up the other touchdown on a 24-yard reception.
The last time Mathews began its season with three consecutive wins was in 1994 under head coach Bob Fraser. That year, the Devils posted back-to-back wins over West Point, Charles City, Poquoson (and then Rappahannock), advancing to post-season play with a 6-4 record.
Unfortunately for Mathews, the team lost in the opening round of the playoffs to Middlesex, 13-7. The Chargers went on to make it to the Division 1 state championships, falling to Appalachia.
On Friday night, the Devils controlled the tempo of the game from the opening kickoff, putting together a 76-yard drive that ate up over seven minutes of the first quarter before Pavik finally dove into the end zone on a third-and-goal play. Pavik and Davis (dubbed "the Pony Express" by MHS head coach Paul White) kept the Indians’ defense on their heels for much of the contest. "Any time a team rushes for over 400 total yards, it is almost impossible to lose," White said.
By the second quarter, Mathews widened its lead to 20-0 following Davis’s first touchdown and the reception by Foster. Foster’s touchdown was set up by a fumble recovery by defensive lineman Deon Blake. Northumberland kept it interesting, when Jalen Conaway caught a 30-yard TD pass, followed by a two-point conversion.
Mathews came right back on the next series with a 70-yard drive capped off by Pavik’s second touchdown run. Davis’s two-point conversion made the score 28-8. With about two minutes left in the quarter, the Indians capitalized on a Mathews fumble, with Tyler Mitchell scoring from two yards out. The Indians’ second two-point conversion narrowed the gap to 28-16.
The Devils did have one last chance to score before halftime, but time ran out as Mathews penetrated deep in Indian territory.
Northumberland pulled even closer after scoring on its first possession of the second half. Pavik blocked the PAT attempt, making it a six-point game, 28-22.
At this point, Mathews regained the momentum, helped in large part by Davis’s 60-yard touchdown run. Pavik scored the two-point conversion to put Mathews up 35-22. Davis widened the gap to 42-22 with his third touchdown, a 13-yard run, while Tyler Tillman added his third PAT kick.