PORT ALLEN — By the second quarter Friday night, University freshman Michael Hollins had already turned in a yeoman’s day of work.
He rushed for four touchdowns by halftime, including three in the first quarter, as the Cubs scored the game’s first 34 points en route to a 48-18 win over Port Allen at Otwell Stadium.
It was easy for Port Allen coach Nick Mitchell to appreciate the 17-carry, 163-yard effort by Hollins. After all, he’s seen it before.
“He’s a very good running back. I coached him last year, so I know a little bit about him,” said Mitchell, who is in his first year at Port Allen after coaching at Southern Lab last season where Hollins was an eighth-grader.
Mitchell knew what Hollins would bring, but he walked away most impressed by the University offensive line.
“They are very good, very physical up front,” he said. “Their offensive line is really the mainstay of their football program.”
University coach Chad Mahaffey was also appreciative of his offensive line’s effort, and what his freshman back was able to do with the holes.
“A good running back that has space is going to look good,” Mahaffey said. “And Mike did a good job of hitting the holes.”
Led by the up-front dominance, U-High (4-1, 2-0 in District 6-3A) put the game away early before Port Allen (2-3, 1-1) showed some promise later in the game.
The Cubs played up-tempo, but smash-mouth football on a 13-play, 87-yard drive capped by Hollins’ 5-yard run to start the game. Then, after back-to-back three-and-outs by the Pelicans, U-High scored much faster, with Hollins capping a couple of four-play drives with scoring runs of 21 and 7 yards.
By the time he scored his fourth touchdown — a 3-yard run to give University a 34-0 lead with 4:18 left in the first half — the Cubs had a 276-67 yardage advantage and a 17-2 lead in first downs.
Hollins wasn’t the only bright spot on the Cubs offense. Quarterback D.J. White showed improvement in the passing game, completing 9 of 16 passes for 123 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown to Chris Raymond in the second quarter.
“It was good for us to complete some passes,” Mahaffey said. “I think Port Allen wanted to bring some guys up in coverage, and we missed some early that were close that has to do with timing. You have to keep working on it.”
U-High’s fast start was easier to appreciate as the game wore on and some promising talent for the Pelicans started to show. Quarterback Jarius Robertson passed for 188 yards and two touchdowns, and the Pelicans showed talent in the skill positions.
“They have some good players, and Nick is doing a good job with them,” Mahaffey said. “They are a team that’s going to keep improving as the season goes on.”