BOTHELL — Before the season began, Meadowdale head football coach Mark Stewart said Morgan Masanda had the potential to be a “big play guy” for the Mavericks.
Through two games, the transfer running back and defensive back from Archbishop Murphy is making his coach look very smart.
After breaking a 91-yard touchdown run last week in a win over Kamiak, Masanda scored on a 55-yard interception return and a 66-yard touchdown run to help lead the Mavericks to a 36-9 victory over the Inglemoor Vikings on Thursday.
“In two games, he’s made some pretty good plays,” Stewart said of Masanda. “He’s a heck of a football player. For us getting to know him, we get to see it a little bit, but he is kind of one of those guys who gets better on Friday nights. He’s got some great speed and he is a pretty good football player for us.”
The big play has been a theme for the Mavericks after two games. They had three long touchdown runs last week against Kamiak. This week they had Masanda’s two big plays to go along with an 82-yard touchdown pass from Brian Marty to Tyler McGuire and a 36-yard touchdown run by Malik Braxton.
“We are making some big plays — opportunistic,” Stewart said. “We have the makings to be a pretty good football team and happy with the big plays for the second week in a row.”
The Mavericks stick to their offensive plan, which is a heavy dose of Masanda and running back Giavani Shepard, even if they don’t seem to be gaining a lot of yardage. Shepard rushed for 43 yards on 15 carries and Masanda had 82 on six, but 66 of those came on his touchdown run.
“A couple yards a play isn’t that bad,” Masanda said. “Every once in a while we know we are going to have a big one because we run a basic five plays, so eventually they got to work and they started working.”
Masanda said his two big plays were simply the work of the team functioning as a unit.
“Honestly, everybody is just doing their job, like on the interception I had Michael Cummings blow up the quarterback and force the throw and put me right in position,” he said. “And on the big run, it was just all of our lineman doing their job and Giavani getting a last-second block so I could make it. I couldn’t do it without my team.”
The Mavericks started slow against the Vikings, leading just 3-0 after one quarter, but they established a tone by getting a field goal on the game’s first drive and taking up nearly half of the first quarter. The drive started with a penalty, negative yardage on a run and a sack that set up 3rd-and-38, but consecutive passes from Marty to Ryan White of 27 and 26 yards respectively gave the Mavericks a first down. They capped off the drive with a 27-yard field goal by Brett Schafer.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks defense was stout. On the Vikings first drive, quarterback Hans Fortune didn’t throw a single incompletion, still the Mavericks stopped the Vikings, who came away empty handed after a missed 33-yard field goal.
Meadowdale forced Inglemoor into three-and-outs on its next two possessions before Marty and McGuire broke through with the game’s first big play. McGuire beat his defender in one-on-one coverage and won a foot race to the end zone to put the Mavericks ahead 10-0 after the extra point.
Marty finished the game 7-for-14 with 180 yards a touchdown and an interception.
After Inglemoor got the ball back, a mental mistake cost the Vikings more points. Quarterback Brandon Edwards was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 12-0 Mavericks lead.
The Vikings got on the board with a 33-yard field goal by Willie Augustavo just before halftime, but Masanda’s interception minutes into the third quarter shifted the momentum for good.
As much as big plays were a part of the Mavericks getting to 2-0 on the season, defense was just as key.
“Last year we were such a smothering defense, we had seniors and all of that and so I think we are trying to work towards that,” Stewart said. “We’re seeing times where we are making plays and getting off the field, but we are making mistakes too. We’ve been a real bend but don’t break defense and now we just want to get into more of a smothering defense. That’s our goal.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Pop Keeney Stadium
M—Brett Schafer 27 FG
M—Tyler McGuire 82 pass from Brian Marty (Schafer kick)
M—Safety (Brandon Edwards intentional grounding in end zone)
I—Willie Augustavo 33 FG
M—Masanda 55 interception return (Schafer kick)
M—Schafer 30 FG
M—Masanda 66 run (Schafer kick)
I—Jake Jones 3 run (kick failed)
M—Malik Braxton 36 run (Schafer kick)
Records—Meadowdale 2-0, Inglemoor 0-2.