On what wound up being the coldest playing night of the season to date, Mooresville’s football team was given its coldest shoulder treatment as well resulting in a 24-7 decision dropped at the hands of visiting I-Meck Conference ringleader Mallard Creek.
Doing so inside the usually warm comforts of their Coach Joe Popp Stadium on Friday night, the outcome served to spoil the Blue Devils’ traditional Senior Night festivities in what was also the regular-season finale for both teams.
Despite the defeat during which the Mooresville offensive unit was limited to one of its lowest production performances of the season overall, it wound up having little if any additional adverse and/or positive affect on either entry.
The Devils (6-5 for the season overall and 4-3 within the I-Meck rank) headed into play sitting alone in fourth place in the league standings and are assured of maintaining that position upon the conclusion of league play.
Meanwhile, Mallard Creek (10-1 and 7-0, respectively) began the night residing all by its lonesome atop the I-Meck crowd and exited with that status still intact upon helping headline what is anticipated to be a healthy number of league representatives meriting invites to participate in pending statewide postseason play.
For a half anyway, and despite the season-low game temperatures in place, host Mooresville made its highly-touted opponent sweat. That was the case as the hosts forced their guests into the logging in of the latter’s lone touchdown coming during the course of first-half play to take place just inside that 24-minute period’s unofficial two-minute warning in order to account for Mallard Creek’s mere 10-7 edge in place at the intermission break.
As was the case throughout the chilly night, Mooresville can credit its defensive unit for that.
Trailing by a 3-0 count approaching the midway mark of second-quarter play, the Devils’ senior linebacker Malik Birchett first blunted a Mavericks punt attempt and then gobbled up the block in midair and raced untouched 50 yards for a touchdown. Accompanied by classmate placekicker Isaac Riffle’s point-after kick, it provided the home team with a 7-3 lead.
Mallard Creek then marched in for that first-half score late in the period to resume a lead it would never lose.
All the scoring throughout the course of the second half came courtesy of the two touchdowns tallied by Mallard Creek in the third period alone used to also account for the game’s final spread.
The most successful of all of Mooresville’s offense actually took place over the span of just two plays.
On the home team’s first snap from scrimmage, senior quarterback Hunter DeBerardino connected with classmate and favorite target Keshaun Black on a 60-yard pass play. Later in the game, the same two partners hooked up again on a similar aerial attack covering 37 yards. Those two tosses stood up as the Devil’s longest successful offensive plays of the night.
Otherwise, the defense ruled. In addition to Birchett’s block and touchdown return of a Mallard Creek punt, Mooresville senior Devin Joslin recovered a Mallard Creek fumble to stymie one Mavericks drive while sophomore defensive back Eli Wilson plucked a MC pass for an interception that ended another.
The regular season now complete, Mooresville will anxiously await word of its pending postseason positioning in preparation for that particular and pivotal phase of play that will get underway for the majority of the teams picked to perform as early as Friday night.