Friday night’s game started out like a dream for the Mathews High School varsity football team. It ended like a nightmare.
After jumping out to a 20-0 first-quarter lead to visiting Lancaster, the wheels came off the bus for Mathews, as the Red Devils outscored their Blue Devil counterparts 57 points to seven as Lancaster trounced Mathews, 57-27, in the game at Ken Brown Field.
Mathews seemed to be an unstoppable juggernaut in the first few minutes, starting with the opening kickoff, which junior Jesse Ingram took 70+ yards for a touchdown. P.J. Johnson hit the first of three PAT kicks for the night to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 edge.
It didn’t stay that way for long, as Johnson’s onside kick was recovered by Justin Jenkins and the Blue Devil offense was back in business. Mathews marched downfield quickly, spurred on by a couple of Dayshon Williamson runs. The senior running back capped the drive with a two-yard TD, and Mathews extended its lead to 14-0 with 8:14 left in the first quarter.
On the next possession, Lancaster was pinned deep in its own territory and the punt was partially blocked by Ingram, with Cody Correll grabbing it and taking it to the Red Devil 9-yard line. On a fourth-down play, quarterback Will Harrington connected with Deondre Foster on a quick slant-in pass to give Mathews what seemed at the time a commanding lead.
Mathews seemed poised to score more, as Johnson recovered his own onside kick and the Blue Devils drove into scoring range. With about a minute left in the first quarter, a pass to Foster near the goal line was tipped, intercepted and returned by a Lancaster player deep into Mathews territory. Despite a strong goal-line stand, Lancaster scored on a fourth-down play to narrow the gap to 20-7.
With two minutes left in the first half, Mathews retaliated with what would turn out to be the team’s final score. Williamson scored from 27 yards out to finish off a 63-yard drive, and Mathews led, 27-7.