After the first-year coach's team fell behind 14-10 in the first half, the Mavericks rallied in the fourth quarter and pulled out a 19-14 win over Kamiak in a non-conference game at Frank Goddard Memorial Stadium.
There were plenty of turnovers, penalties and a whole lot of cramping on both sides of the field, but none of that bothered Don after the game.
"It's a great way to start the season," he said. "It wasn't pretty, but it counts."
The Mavs' starting quarterback, Jerremiah Evans, completed just five of 17 passes for 98 yards, but he threw a 50-yard touchdown pass and, most importantly, rushed for 53 yards on the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
"He did a great job running the offense ...," Don said. "When we needed a play, he stepped up and made it."
With 6 minutes, 42 seconds to go in the game and Kamiak leading 14-13, the Knights punted the ball and watched it roll out of bounds at the Meadowdale 22. On second down, Evans faked an inside handoff, fooling the Knights' defense, and scampered down the sideline for a 34-yard gain -- the longest run of the game for either team. He ran two more times on the eight-play drive that ended with a 3-yard TD run by Rory Spillum with 2:14 to play. The two-point conversion failed.
After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Kamiak quarterback Tyler Becker threw four incompletions and the game was all but over.
Before Meadowdale's late drive, Kamiak running back/defensive back Austin Hall figured to be the player of the game. Hall finished with 128 yards rushing and a touchdown and also intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.
But the Mavericks, who watched longtime head coach Mark Stewart depart for Seattle's Garfield High School in the offseason, spoiled the evening for Hall and the Knights with their late scoring drive. Don didn't see a whole lot of clean play, but he did see one thing he liked.
"I think resiliency," he said. "I don't think we played our best football, but the ability to overcome mistakes is the sign of a good team and I think we have that."
Don said he expects the Mavs to be solid this season.
"We thought we were going to be solid from the get-go and we really thought we were underrated," he said. "A lot of teams didn't think we had much coming in, but we have a great group of kids and they are going to perform all year."
For Kamiak coach Dan Mack, it's back to the drawing board after his Knights lost the first of three games against 3A competition before opening Wesco 4A South play.
The game couldn't have started much better for Kamiak. On the first play from scrimmage, Tyler Webley raced 28 yards into Maverick territory and the Mavs jumped offside to move the ball to the 42-yard line.
That positive start turned quickly when, on first-and-5, Becker's first pass of the year was intercepted by Meadowdale's Charlie White. Three Mav plays later, Evans hit receiver Josiah Evans for a 50-yard score.
Kamiak took its next possession into Mav territory, but couldn't quite get the rhythm going on the no-huddle offense and stalled. After a Maverick punt, the Knights turned to their most dangerous weapon -- Hall.
The senior tailback had 38 total yards on an 11-play, 74-yard drive capped by his 10-yard run into the end zone to tie the score 7-7.
A second-quarter Kamiak fumble set up a Brett Schafer field goal that put Meadowdale back on top 10-7.
With 3:42 to play in the first half the Knights responded with an eight-play 80-yard drive. Becker capped the drive by finding 6-foot-4 Brady Henderson alone in the end zone for a 38-yard score to make it 14-10.
The Mavs' defensive play of the day came in the middle of the third quarter when the Knights drove down to the Meadowdale 7-yard line, then suffered a 24-yard sack.
Becker finished 14-of-27 for 151 yards with one touchdown and one interception
At Kamiak H.S.
Meadowdale 7 3 3 6 -- 19
Kamiak 7 7 0 0 -- 14
M--Josiah Evans 50 pass from Jerremiah Evans (Brett Schafer kick)
K--Austin Hall 10 run (Nicholas Menghini kick)
M--Schafer 24 field goal
K--Henderson Belk 38 pass from Tyler Becker (Menghini kick)
M--Schafer 33 field goal
M--Spillum 3 run (run failed)
Records--Meadowdale 1-0. Kamiak 0-1.
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