By Travis Mounts
The Goddard Lions pushed their record to 5-1 with last week’s 33-14 home win against the Maize South Mavericks.
It was a huge victory for the Lions, who had never before beaten the Mavericks. Goddard was 0-6 in previous games against Maize South.
Goddard’s players have thrived in their new run-first and run-often offense, with their only blemish being an overtime loss in Week 3.
Leading the Mavericks 14-7 at halftime last Friday, the Lions opened the second half with a six-play, 68-yard drive. Quarterback Ashton Sell rolled out and found Mason Healy open for a 48-yard pass. The score put the Lions ahead 20-7.
They extended the lead to 26-7 with a drive covering 11 plays and 55 yards that went from the third to the fourth quarter. Sell and Healy connected again, this time on a 21-yard pass.
A Devin Mathes 60-yard touchdown run on the first play of a drive gave the Lions a 33-7 lead with 5:36 to play. The Mavericks tacked on a late touchdown to narrow the margin.
“The thing I’m most proud of is, our plan worked,” said Goddard head coach Tommy Beason. “We did some things defensively that I think they don’t see every week.”
The Lions were able to keep Maize South’s quarterback off the field. Most of the Mavericks’ rushing yards came on their final drive against the Lions’ reserve players.
In the past two games, the Lions have given up fewer than 70 yards per game. Goddard dominated the time of possession against Maize South, 34:54 to 13:06.
Healy’s two touchdown receptions represented half of the Lions’ total pass attempts. Another pass was intercepted.
The Lions do not pass often, but they are effective. They are 19-for-39 for the entire season, which is a single-game result for most teams. Out of those 19 completions, 10 have been for touchdowns.
Devin Mathes had a huge game, churning out 176 rushing yards on 21 carries. Micah Johnson ran for 57, and Jaden Cohens had 49 more.
Goddard continues to sit in second place in the Class 5A West standings, a game behind the Maize Eagles. Goddard (5-1) has an edge over Hays, Hutchinson and Valley Center based on points.
The Lions will look for win No. 6 at home this Friday as the Salina Central Mustangs (4-2) come to town.
“They run the ball really well. It will be a different kind of game,” Beason said. “There’s so much on the line – league title implications, seedings.”
He expects the game to come down to turnovers and play at the line of scrimmage.
“That is who we are. We want to turn it into a street fight,” he said.