McKinley had another lesson in futility Friday in a 35-6 home loss to Dutchtown.
The Panthers had to start three drives from their 1-yard line. They gave the ball up three times on turnovers that led to Dutchtown touchdowns, and until the game’s final five minutes, had virtually no offense.
Dutchtown, meanwhile, took what it could find, used a balanced offense and opportunistic defense to score in every quarter and pull away for the District 5-5A win.
“Workmanlike would be a great definition of it,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “We weren’t exceptional, but we did what we had to do to get out of here, and hopefully get out healthy. This is not an easy place to play, and I thought we played OK in all three phases.”
Dutchtown (5-2, 2-0 in district) finished with 194 rushing yards and 96 more passing, and Saia was pleased with their balance.
“They made it tough on us inside, and we’ve been able to throw the ball more this year,” he said. (Quarterback) Jared (Sparks) has done a good job of distributing the ball, and we have some receivers we can trust.”
Sparks was 10 for 18 passing with one touchdown pass to Averee York. He connected with six receivers, led by York with three catches for 37 yards.
McKinley (2-5, 0-2) got a late surge when McKinley coach Robert Signater inserted wide receiver RaeQuan Powell at quarterback and spread the field with five wide receivers. Though he was sacked three times, he managed to put a spark in the Panthers offense before starter Euric Larvinette returned for the last series and hit Taurus Wilson with a 21-yard TD pass for McKinley’s only score.
“I wish I had five more guys with that kid’s heart, with his motor,” Signater said of Powell. “He never quits.
“We had some good plays, but you can’t win if you can’t finish. I don’t know what it is. I wish I knew. We don’t have any emotion. Any spirit. Any pride. It’s like we’re just going through the motions.”
It took Dutchtown 21 plays to score its first touchdown in the first quarter. The first 14 came on a 79-yard drive that stalled on the McKinley 1-yard line when the Panthers defense held on fourth-and-goal.
A three-and-out and short punt put the Griffins back in business on the McKinley 18, and it took six more plays to set up Jared Sparks’ 1-yard sneak for the first score.
Fitell Bolding capped off the next Dutchtown drive with a 6-yard touchdown run, and Rickey Thomas found the end zone late in the half with a 39-yard interception return.
Averee York was 3-3 on PAT kicks in the first half and perfect on five attempts.
Dutchtown held a big edge in total first-half offense, 154 yards to 47, and 17 of those yards came on one play, a 17-yard pass from Larvinette to Powell.
The two most exciting plays of the half didn’t count as both a 72-yard punt return by Dutchtown’s Cornelius Washington and a 50-yard kickoff return by McKinley’s Lil Man Lewis were nullified by penalties.
Penalty flags flew toward the end of the first half, and the last two minutes took 19 minutes to play after Thomas’ touchdown.