Spectators at Friday night’s Mathews-Middlesex game didn’t have to wait long to get a feel for how the varsity football season opener was going to go.
After the first opening kick rolled out of bounds, the Middlesex kicker teed it up again and MHS senior Chris Davis weaved his way through the Chargers’ special teams players to take the ball 65 yards for the score. Although Middlesex closed the gap to 14-6 early in the third quarter, the Devils never relinquished their lead on the way to a commanding 28-6 victory.
"I was very proud of our effort, enthusiasm, and execution versus Middlesex," MHS head coach Paul White said. "It was not an easy game by any margin. Middlesex offensively gives a lot of spread formations and defensively their goal was to stop Chris Davis.
"Chris still had a positive game but James Pavik, Ryan Ewell and Deondre Foster all stepped up offensively," White added. "I know we were hustling because our center Lorenzo Wright recovered a fumble 15 yards up the field. Defensively, we executed our game plan. Tyler Tillman had two interceptions and Chris Davis had one. Several players including Jared Inge, Detray Washington, James Pavik and Scott Holmberg pressured or sacked the quarterback."
Mathews dominated the Chargers on both ends of the ball, although the Devils’ offense did squander a few early scoring opportunities that would have put the game out of reach. With the exception of one play, the Mathews defense completely stymied Middlesex, holding the Chargers to a single first down by halftime and less than 100 yards for the entire game.
The Devils’ running attack was balanced between the hard-pounding Pavik and the fleet-footed Davis, with Pavik gaining 96 yards on 19 carries and Davis picking up 87 on 24 rushing attempts.
Junior quarterback Ryan Ewell completed four of 11 passes for 79 yards, with the biggest reception being a 48-yard TD strike to sophomore wide receiver Deondre Foster to put Mathews up, 14-0, by end of the first quarter. That touchdown was set up by Tyler Tillman’s interception of Middlesex QB Ryheem Lockley; the first of two picks in the first half for the senior defensive back. Tillman was also three of four in PAT kicks.