APEX — Anytime Fayetteville’s E.E. Smith tried to move the ball against Middle Creek, it was enveloped in black helmets, black pants and black jerseys with black numbers.
The Mustangs’ defense that swallowed up the Golden Bulls en route to a 56-14 win Friday night.
Middle Creek held Smith to 41 yards of total offense in the first half, including 3 yards rushing on 18 carries. If it seemed like the Mustangs knew the Bulls’ plays, there is something to that.
Senior linebackers King Kiaku and Tommy Hartshorn said the Mustangs study a lot of film. .
“Every week we put in a new scheme,” Hartshorn said. “We pride ourselves on watching film and knowing what their habits are. We always preach about getting 11 hats to the football.”
Smith (1-1) was the reigning conference champion from the Mid-South Conference, which includes Fayetteville Jack Britt. But the Bulls ended the game with 3 yards on 20 carries and completed just 16 of 48 passes for 216 yards.
Even after allowing just 14 offensive points to Garner the week before, the Mustangs aren’t resting on their laurels.
“We have to work on pass coverage and just the little stuff,” Kiaku said.
In the first quarter alone, Smith’s three turnovers helped Middle Creek start drives at the Bulls’ 24-, 29-, 7-, 48- and 43-yard lines.
Keon Smith’s 1-yard run got Middle Creek on the board. Brant Grisel threw a 6-yard touchdown to Smith and then a 6-yard score to Deante McDonald made it 21-0 as the first quarter expired.
The Mustangs forced a fourth turnover in the second quarter and scored twice in the last 1 minute, 44 seconds thanks to touchdown runs from Josh Drake of 11 and 8 yards.
Middle Creek led 35-0 at halftime.
On the third play in the third quarter, Smith caught a bubble screen from Grisel and went 69 yards to the end zone while juking the last two defenders.
The Mustangs added fourth-quarter touchdowns via a 16-yard pass from Grisel to Evan Yenulevich and a 1-yard touchdown run from Dominique Shoffner.
Grisel threw four touchdowns, two interceptions and completed 13-of-27 passes for 199 yards.
Smith scored on passing plays from Harold Herbin to Aaron Whitaker in the third quarter and from Herbin to Shawn Barnes in the fourth quarter.
Middle Creek’s Troy Diebolt blocked a punt to set up Shoffner’s score.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps