Mays 38, Douglas County 13

Mays had to overcome two opponents Friday night: Douglas County and the Raiders themselves.

But in the end, the big play senior combo of quarterback Andrew Banks and receiver Tavarious Carswell, a power running game and a swarming defense was enough to overwhelm Douglas County, as the Raiders scored 35 unanswered points to take a 38-13 win, Friday night at Lakewood Stadium.

The win is the fifth in a row for Mays (5-1, 4-0 in Region 5AAAAAA), after the Raiders dropped their opener, 17-12, to Kell in the Corky Kell Classic, and sets up a battle for first place in the region next week at Creekside (4-2, 4-0). The loss puts the Tigers (4-3, 3-2) in a precarious position, battling it out with county rival Alexander for the final playoff spot in the region.

Last season, a surging Douglas County program beat Mays for the first time in five tries, 23-8. It looked like the Tigers might make it two in a row over the Raiders early on as they jumped out to a 13-3 lead.

Douglas County struck as early as possible when Monte Gooding returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. The freshman found a seam up the middle then bounced to the outside to his left and outran two Raiders to the end zone. Austin Lewis’ point after kick made it 7-0, just 25 seconds into the game.

After two drives where the Mays offense sputtered and hurt itself with penalties, the Raiders took advantage of a Tiger miscue and took possession deep inside Douglas County territory. Punter Eric Vega couldn’t corral a low snap and ended up kicking the ball out of bounds at his own 17 yard line. Mays couldn’t get into the end zone and had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Dafe Akiporaye on the first play of the second quarter to make it 7-3.

On Douglas County’s next possession quarterback Justin Franklin flexed his athleticism and speed when he kept the ball on a zone read, darted up the middle and outran the Mays secondary for a 45-yard touchdown and a 13-3 lead.

Mays’ next possession didn’t begin well, as a 63-yard return on the ensuing kickoff by senior Cario Googer was nullified by a blindside block penalty. The Raiders took over on their 22-yard line, and on the third play of the drive Banks and Carswell connected on a 58-yard pitch and catch on a go-route, and a horse collar penalty on Douglas County moved the ball to the Tigers’ 25 yard line. Banks hit Carswell on a fade route for an apparent touchdown on the next play, but it was called back when Carswell was flagged for offensive pass interference. Mays turned to its ground game to convert on the drive, as five straight runs by Tyree Nelson culminated with a 2-yarder by the senior to trim the lead to 13-10.

Douglas County senior Travis Collier fumbled the kickoff and the Tigers started their next drive on their 2 yard line. The Tigers ended up punting and the short kick was returned to the 11 yard line by Omari Drake. A holding penalty moved the ball back to the 22 yard line, but on the next play Banks hit Jaquari Wiggles with just 28 seconds left in the half, on a deep slant for a touchdown to give the Raiders a lead they would not give back.

The Raiders essentially put the game away on their first possession of the second half. First, they had to overcome another penalty as a 50-yard run by Nelson was squelched by a holding call, one of the 15 penalties for 120 yards on the night. But as they did all night, the Raiders’ talent bailed them out as Banks and Carswell hooked up on their second scoring play of the night, a 57-yard touchdown.

Mays added two fourth quarter touchdowns – a 27-yard run by junior Danny Conley and a 16-yard touchdown pass from Banks to Carswell – and the defense clamped down on Franklin, who completed just one of eight passes after starting the game five-for-five, to finish the win.