Mavs overcome first half struggles in victory over Houston Christian

The team pushed through struggles during the first half to win with 42 points, passing the 40 point mark for the third time in four games.

James Talbott

The team pushed through struggles during the first half to win with 42 points, passing the 40 point mark for the third time in four games.

The Mavs knew exactly what they had to do going into their game on Sept. 28: beat Houston Christian or face elimination from SPC title contention.

Since their season opener was cancelled because of Hurricane Harvey, this was the first home game of the season. The team missed considerable practice time during the week off due to Harvey, but they were able to bounce back quickly.

“It wasn’t pretty, but we got the job done,” said senior captain Charles Sampson as he addressed the team in the locker room after the game.

Sampson played a huge part in the victory, scoring a 51-yard touchdown on a post route from second-year starting quarterback Wesley Gow. The touchdown put the Mavs ahead 14-7, a lead they never relinquished the rest of the game.

Perhaps the biggest play of the game came via a pick-six from sophomore safety Drake Meiss, who leads the team with three interceptions on the young season.

“I credit the coaching staff for putting me in a great position to make plays,” Meiss said. “It’s easy to make a play when you know exactly where the ball is going.”

The Maverick defense made a few adjustments at halftime and held Houston Christian to just 23 plays in the second half.

“We changed some alignments and made sure everyone was on the same page,” said senior linebacker Peter Chen. “Everyone was better with gap discipline, and we made the tackles on first contact.”

Without a viable rushing attack, Houston Christian was “taken to the deep water,” a favorite saying of offensive coordinator Aaron Vice before the Mavericks re-enter the field for the second half.

The Maverick offense poured it on in the second half, continuing to produce huge numbers even without star lineman Roman Lewis. Harrison Fernelius successfully filled in for Lewis, and the offensive line gave up no sacks while paving the way for 165 rushing yards.

“We did a great job of winning the double-teams and getting push,” said junior guard Emerson Knapp.

That “push” refers to when the offensive line clears the defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage, opening up lots of running room. The Mavs run scheme requires push to work effectively, and they got plenty of push from the O-line that night.

Most of the rush yards came from running the veer, which allowed Gow and running back Malcolm Sturgis to run the ball based on how the defense played. Gow made easy work of the defense, and the Mavs averaged a more than 5 yards per rush along with 8.9 yards per pass attempt.

With all cylinders firing, the Maverick offense cruised to a 42-21 victory, with touchdowns from Genson Hooper-Price, Gow, Sturgis, and Sampson. Thanks to the strong second half, the Mavs cracked the 40-point mark for the third time in four games.

“It was awesome to see all the people who showed up on a Thursday night,” Sampson said. “It makes us play better, and we certainly appreciate all the support from students, faculty and parents.”

The Mavs will play the Fort Bend Christian Eagles on Friday, October 6 at 7:00 pm on Skip Lee Field.

“We still have a lot of things that we have to work on, but we also did a lot of things well,” Chen said. “We really have a lot of potential as a team, so we just need to make sure we stay focused, capitalize on that, and fulfill everything that we can do.”