By George Slaughter
Homecoming weekend has come to Taylor High School, and while Friday night’s rain might have gotten everyone wet, it didn’t get in the way of a 28-21 Mustang victory over Mayde Creek at Legacy Stadium.
The victory improves the Mustangs to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in District 19-6A play. The Rams fall to 3-4 overall and 0-3 in district play.
Mayde Creek opened the scoring on its second drive of the first quarter on a 25-yard pass from junior quarterback John Zolache to junior wide receiver Daniel Henry. The key play of the drive came just two plays earlier, when senior running back Trevion Goins took off for a 67-yard run. Senior kicker Alejandro Moctezuma kicked the extra point.
After an exchange of punts, Taylor got its first score of the game on a 20-yard run by sophomore running back Casey Shorter. Sophomore kicker Renan Baeta’s extra point tied the game and ended the first quarter.
Mayde Creek responded with another touchdown on the ensuing drive. The score came on a one-yard plunge by Zolache with 10:25 in the first half. Moctezuma kicked the extra point.
At this point, the Rams had a 14-7 lead and the game seemed to be turning into a shootout. Taylor tied the game on a six-play drive, capped by a 22-run by sophomore running back Brandon Campbell. Baeta kicked the extra point.
The Rams responded on their next drive, scoring 52-yard touchdown pass from Zolache to senior wide receiver Jalon Strong. Moctezuma kicked the extra point.
The Mustangs came back on their next drive to tie the game at 21. Sophomore running back Julius Loughridge’s four-yard touchdown run came with 3:28 left in the first half. Baeta kicked the extra point.
A light rain fell as the opening kickoff neared, but the heavy rains didn’t start until halftime. Between Shorter, Campbell, and Loughridge, the issue was whether the Mustangs could assert themselves offensively in the second half while handling a football made slick by the rain.
“It’s pretty difficult (dealing with the slick football), but it’s all in your head,” Taylor junior quarterback Dalton Burden said. “At the end of the day, you either do it or you don’t.”
The Taylor defense also needed to step up to stop Mayde Creek’s passing attack, which it did by holding the Rams scoreless in the second half.
“The defense played great in the second half, and that really helped us,” Burden said.
The Taylor offense, meanwhile, scored what proved to be the winning touchdown on an 11-yard run by Loughridge with 9:03 left in the game. Baeta kicked the extra point.
The Taylor defense got a key interception midway on the next Mayde Creek drive, when junior defensive back Brandon Hay picked off a Zolache pass with 7:25 left.
Hay said making the interception was a big relief, and a good stress reliever, after having gone through this season without an interception.
“We have all the confidence in the world right now, coming off of two wins in a row,” Hay said.
Taylor’s will next play Tompkins Thursday night at Legacy Stadium. Mayde Creek will next play Seven Lakes Friday at Rhodes Stadium.