Freshman David Mbadinga ran for 238 yards and four touchdowns and 10th-ranked Kell pulled away from visiting Paulding County in the second half for a 41-16 victory Friday in a Region 7-AAAAA game.
Kell was in control throughout but was not able to separate from the Patriots until scoring two touchdowns in less than two minutes midway through the third quarter to take a 27-6 lead.
Kell (4-1, 2-1) and Paulding County (3-3, 2-2) came into the game as two of the region’s four one-loss teams trying to keep pace with unbeaten Carrollton and Hiram at the top of the standings. The victory left Kell in fourth place in the region, with a game against second-ranked Carrollton coming up in two weeks.
Kell finished with 465 yards of total offense - 312 rushing and 153 passing. Corbin LaFrance was 10-of-18 passing with one touchdown and scored on a 12-yard run. B.J. Abson ran for 54 yards on nine carries.
“I like the progression we saw in the run game,” Kell coach Brett Sloan said. “I think the pass game can be hit or miss sometimes. So, can you run the ball when you need to run the ball? For the most part we were able to do that tonight. So if we can get them both clicking at the same time, we’ve got a chance.”
Paulding County trailed just 14-6 after a 38-yard field goal by Matthew Frey with 8:06 to play in the third quarter, but Kell scored on its next two possessions. LaFrance threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon Brown to make it 20-6, and Mbadinga’s third touchdown run, a 17-yarder, increased the lead to 27-6 with 4:25 to play in the third quarter. Mbadinga’s 71-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Longhorns a 31-9 lead.
Paulding County finished with 283 yards of total offense, but 163 of those came on two plays in the fourth quarter after the game was no longer in doubt - a 94-yard touchdown pass from Brayden Mauldin to Keishon Jackson and a 69-yard run by Christian Rowe, who finished with 97 yards on 16 carries.
Frey kicked three field goals, covering 47, 38 and 47 yards.
“They’ve got some good skill guys, and it just takes one play for them to house it for six points,” Sloan said. “They continued to play hard, and we’re all fighting for a playoff spot, so I knew they weren’t going to go away.”
LaFrance threw an interception on Kell’s second offensive play of the game, but the Longhorns scored touchdowns on their next two possessions to take a 14-0 lead. Mbadinga finished off a 10-play, 67-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run with 1:52 to play in the first quarter, then scored on a 2-yard run with 8:10 left in the half.
Paulding County was limited to 40 yards of total offense in the first half but cut the deficit to 14-3 on a 47-yard field goal by Frey with 1:11 to play in the second quarter.
Paulding County - 0-3-6-7 - 16
Kell - 7-7-13-14 - 41
K - David Mbadinga 4 run (Colby Kerns kick), 1:52
K - Mbadinga 2 run (Kerns kick), 8:10
P - Matthew Frey 47 field goal, 1:11
P - Frey 38 field goal, 8:06
K - Jaylon Brown 40 pass from Corbin LaFrance (kick failed), 5:44
K - Mbadinga 17 run (Kerns kick), 4:05
P - Frey 47 field goal, 0:04
K - Mbadinga 71 run (Kerns kick), 11:47
P - Keishon Jackson 94 pass from Brayden Mauldin, 10:26
K - LaFrance 12 run (Kerns kick), 5:15
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