The Mathews High School varsity football team had its best performance of the year, dominating the visiting Charles City Panthers, last Thursday night, 49-14.
The win was the second of the season for the Blue Devils, providing a much-needed morale boost as they head into this week’s season finale at home against long-time rival Middlesex.
The Devils’ pounding ground game, led by senior running back Austin Fravel (200 yards on 21 carries) and five second-half interceptions, led to the lopsided victory.
"We had our moments," Mathews head coach Ryan Wenner said following the Charles City victory. "They’re getting better in just figuring out how to play."
The MHS players, he said, struggled in keeping their composure in following the coaches’ assignments, but came together in the end for the win. And the defense played a heck of a game in the second half, with several key interceptions, to put the game away, he added.
Mathews has been suffering from a number of injuries to key players, Wenner said, but "the young guys have taken the opportunity to step up" and the sophomores from the MHS jayvee team will fill the ranks in time for the Middlesex game.
The Devils’ first score came after a fumble recovery late in the first quarter. Fravel capitalized on the miscue, scoring on a 7-yard run—the first of four rushing touchdowns he had on the night. Placekicker P.J. Johnson, who was a perfect 7-for-7 in PAT attempts, made the score 7-0.
After another Fravel touchdown run early in the second quarter, this time from 14 yards out, the Panthers tightened the game to 14-6 on a 1-yard run by Cecil Tyler just before half time.
Mathews received the second-half kickoff and quickly drove downfield, with Fravel carrying it in from 20 yards out, to bring the score 21-6. Charles City retaliated on the next possession, with James Adkins catching a 32-yard TD pass. The two-point conversion narrowed the Devils’ lead to 21-14.