McMain had just beaten overmatched Clark 38-0 at Pan American Stadium on Saturday, but coach Kevin Roussell had that displeased look of concern.
“We made too many mistakes, too many penalties, and we need to clean that up,” Roussell said. “We go into district (11-3A) next week, and it’s going to be tough. Against a good De La Salle team, we’ll be in a world of trouble with all of those penalties.”
The first two plays of the game set the tone for Mustangs (4-1). Marvin Bell returned the opening kickoff 54 yards to the Clark 36.
On the next play, quarterback Darnell Williams handed off to running back Eric James, who flipped the ball back to Williams. Williams passed to receiver James Howard behind the Bulldogs secondary. Williams and Howard then teamed on the two-point conversion. Only 12 seconds had elapsed.
It took the Mustangs less time — seven seconds — the next time they scored. Taking over at the Clark 24 after the Bulldogs went for the first down on fourth-and-2, Williams passed to Jamairyn Wallace on first down, then teamed with Howard again on the two-point conversion. Halfway through the first quarter, it was 16-0.
Against a Clark team (1-4) did little offensively, it seemed the Mustangs’ minds may have begun to turn to the big Uptown appointment with De La Salle.
“That’s probably what happened,” Roussell said. “But we have to continue to play four quarters.”
McMain’s next scoring possession began at the Clark 31 at the start of the second quarter, but the Mustangs were pushed back to the 46 after a hands-to-the-face penalty that became a recurring theme. The Mustangs finished the game with as many as six personal fouls among its 130 yards in penalties.
That drive, set up by a Clark fumble, took nine plays and ended in a 29-yard touchdown pass to Howard at 8:24 of the second quarter. He again was the target on the two-point. McMain went into halftime with a 24-0 lead.
The Mustangs scored twice in the third quarter — on a 1-yard run by Nicholas McCaskill early and a 3-yard run by Eric James late, then called it a day.
Roussell did find a positive. The defense held the Bulldogs to 102 yards total offense, including 18 yards rushing — a minus-3 in the second half.
“I thought our defense played hard,” he said. “I thought the defense did a good job of rallying to the ball, and we did a good job of tackling today.”
Clark could get nothing going offensively, and that was a big reason the Bulldogs were unable to compete.
“We need to go back to the drawing board on a couple of things,” Clark coach Wesley Heath said. “We had some guys go down today, and some people weren’t prepared to step up. I was just making sure that we are always paying attention at practice and ready to go and lay it all on the line when we’re out there.”
Clark could get nothing going offensively, and that was a big reason the Bulldogs were unable to compete. It’s most successful play was a halfback pass from Mekail Harris to Koiy Evans for 22 yards at the end of the third quarter to the McMain 28. But that drive ended when Harris bobbled a pass from quarterback Elton Biagas that was plucked out of the air by Mustangs linebacker Shawn Moore.
After the game, Clark coach Wesley Heath met with his team, which lacks size and numbers, for about 45 minutes.