MAUD – Maud was no match for Depew's run game Friday night, losing to the Hornets 62-14 early into the third quarter on a mercy ruling.
“We knew they had a good football team coming in, and we knew we had to play error free. We've been so fortunate all year. I said what we do works when we have every piece of the puzzle,” coach Bruce Harrell said.
Trailing 48-14 after the first half, the Tigers were inching closer and closer to a touchdown before Depew's Steven Quinones snagged Kash Bodkins pass down the middle for an 80-yard interception return.
Quinones' kickoff was a flub, but the Hornets took the opportunity to treat it as an onside kick and come up with the ball at the Maud 38-yard line. Three plays later Quinones rushed 25 yards for the game-ender.
Harrell and the Tigers knew that they had to stop Quinones if they were going to win. He ended the game with four TD runs for the Hornets and 168 yards on 18 carries.
“Coming in we knew if we couldn't stop [Quinones] we weren't gonna win, and we couldn't stop him.” Harrell said.
The Tigers gave up 16 points in the first quarter, before getting on the board with a 28-yard pass from Bodkin to Caleb Troxell. They missed the conversion to fall into a tough position, if they were going to catch up.
Bodkin would connect with Braylen Brewer with 6:36 to go in the half for the Tigers' second TD of the game and shrink Depew's lead to 40-14, but would never find their way back into the end zone.
Harrell said he was impressed with how his team responded to going from the power running, red-option team they were in the past to a passing team this season. That was a drastic change, he said, but the numbers accrued on the season proved it worked.
“I mean there are some ridiculous numbers,” he said. “Kash coming into tonight had 43 touchdown passes and a few more tonight, so to take on that challenge and do what they did, we probably got every bit of what we could get out of this team. And our 25th district championship at the school and my fifth one here in 11 years. It's been a fun and great year.”
Bodkin finished the game with 15 completions for 205 yards with three interceptions. Brewer led in receiving with 76 yards, Troxell had 63, Brady Arms 46 and Bryce Reid had 20.
Following the game, seniors Troxell, Bodkin, Tarren Grigg, Ryan Bowers, Rowdy McFall and Devon Reid stood side-by-side as Harrell, the coaches, the team and fans hugged their 12th graders as a means to say thank you and goodbye from Darrell Pearcy Stadium. They each played an important role in the Tigers' success in recent years and will be missed, Harrell said.
“Can I have them all back? You can just go down the line. First off Terren Grigg decided to come out for the first time ever and did some good things for us and played special teams and had a good year. Ryan Bowers playing linebacker all year and running the football strong when we did want to run it. Caleb Troxell and Devon and Kash. Those guys have got all kinds of school records now and things that they've done,” he said. “And of course, Rowdy McFall, he's just kinda run our defense all year. He's been our second leading tackler for two years now and those guys have got a special place in my heart and I'm real proud of them.”
The Tigers finish the season with a record of 10-2 (5-0).