CRESTVIEW — Hub City middle schools Davidson and Shoal River squared off on the football of Crestview High School’s Jack Foster Stadium on Thursday in a renewal of their gridiron rivalry.
Powered by a strong running game that gained 265 yards on 34 carries it was the Mustangs of Shoal River that galloped to a 20-0 win.
Shoal River (1-0) also had 13 yards through the air to finish the game with 278 yards in total offense. The Mustang defense held the Panthers to 93 yards on 48 yards rushing and 45 yards passing.
“Davidson is always well coached and they always play hard,” Shoal River coach Ryan Gillis said. “It’s a battle to the end any time we go against each other. We were very fortunate to get a win out of here.
“We had a lot of miscues in the first half, but we had some kids step up the second half. We talk a lot about character – not being one, but having it. They showed a lot of character tonight.”
Kenny Whaley led the Shoal River ground attack with 90 yards on 11 carries. Mondreus Flavors was even more impressive gaining 80 yards on four carries.
A good case of first-game jitters seemed to plague both teams in the early going.
The Panthers (0-1) moved the ball downfield on their first possession on the strong running of Vincente Turner and the passing combination of Rod Bouchard to Keon Viosin. A 16-yard completion from Bouchard to Viosin gave the Panthers a first down on the Mustang 30-yard line.
An illegal procedure penalty stalled the drive and Davidson came away with nothing on the scoreboard.
The Panthers would mount two other scoring threats deep in Mustang territory later in the game coming up empty both times.
The Mustangs had a nice drive of their own to start the game as they took the ball to the Panther 25. Davidson’s Dylan Sanford recovered a Shoal River fumble to stop the drive.
On their next possession the Mustangs scored the first touchdown of the game. Flavors broke off a 57-yard run on the last play of the first quarter to move the ball to the Davidson 5-yard line.
Chris Raines took the ball in from five yards out on the first play of the second quarter to put the Mustangs up 6-0.
Shoal River went 54 yards on 11 plays to open the third quarter. Ryan Pasch finished off the drive with a five-yard run and Whaley added the 2-point conversion.
An interception by Mustang defensive tackle Braison Smith late in the third quarter set up the final Shoal River score.
Smith’s interception stopped a Panther drive at the Mustang 9-yard line. Smith returned the interception out to the 28.
Shoal River needed seven plays to cover the 72 yards. Pasch had runs of 14 and 19 yards on the drive, but Whaley carried it the last 10 yards for the score.
James Green led the Panthers with 46 yards rushing on 10 carries. Turner added 21 yards on five carries.
Bouchard teamed up with Viosin for 45 yards through the air on two completions.
“It came down to execution,” Davidson coach Chris Small said. “We had some plays that would have allowed us to stay in the game, but we didn’t execute them.”
Shoal River plays to Fort Walton Beach to take on Pryor on Thursday. Davidson hosts Bruner.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.