For Jewel Sumner, it proved to be a tuneup for the rest of the season.
For Mentorship Academy, it served as a reminder for the fledgling program what it has ahead.
The game had long been decided when Sumner’s DeUndra Mobley returned an interception 30 yards for a TD that put his team ahead 49-0, 2:14 before the half.
That play, as much as any in Sumner’s decisive 56-7 victory Thursday at Doug Williams Stadium, highlighted the gap between the two, “It’s all about the process,” Jewel Sumner coach Zephaniah Powell said.
“Credit the Mentorship kids. They gave effort from the first (quarter) to the fourth. I’m proud of the effort our players put forth as well, but we’ve got some things to clean up. Way too many flags. And we’ve got a big game coming up next week.”
Sumner (1-0) plays rival and perennial power Kentwood next week.
The Cowboys scored two touchdowns in the first five minutes, with another TD called back a minute later. It wouldn’t matter.
Three minutes later, quarterback Kevin Coleman ran in off-guard for another score from 5 yards out to sap whatever doubt remained.
On the ensuing drive, Mentorship (0-1) appeared poised to mount a promising drive when a nifty 15-yard catch-and-run set up his offense at its 49.
Two plays later, Sharks tailback Derek Moore’s fumble was recovered by Sumner at the MA 32. A 32-yard TD connection from Coleman to Kenneth Stewart two plays later gave Sumner a commanding 28-0 edge.
For further punctuation, the second half began with Sumner’s Marq Robertson returning the kickoff 90 yards for a score that upped the count to 56-0.
The Sharks’ lone score came with 8:12 left in the game when Nasjzae Bryant score on a 3-yard run to provide the final margin. Officials opted to go with a running clock in the second half.
It was a rare opportunity for Mentorship to host a game. The team often plays its games on the road, having no official home field.
“I thought that our guys played hard tonight,” Mentorship coach Jeremy Gradney said. “Lots of these guys, it was their first game of any kind. I thought our offensive line improved from the jamboree. I think we’ll have some things we can look at on tape and improve. We still have a long way to go.”