Mighty Many’s run game, defense batter Bucs

PLAYOFF ATMOSPHERE:  With fans standing on the track into the curves on both sides, there was a postseason feel Friday night at John W. Curtis Tiger Stadium as Haughton visited Many. (Photo by DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

MANY — Haughton’s not that bad.

Friday night – most any Friday night for more than a decade, but particularly on this one – Many was just that good. Dominant, actually. Mighty Mouse roared.

The Class 2A stalwart steadily overpowered its Class 5A visitors Friday night, posting a 35-3 decision in a game where statistics did tell the story.

Many had more.

Rushing yards – almost 10 times more. The Tigers, on 37 carries, rolled up 471 yards. That’s 12.7 yards per rush. The Buccaneers netted a meager 49 on 26 tries.

Many needed less.

Passing stats — The Tigers (3-0) had none, because they never needed to throw. Haughton (2-1) recorded a modest 110 as its talented quarterback, Colin Rains, managed to complete 8 of 21 while constantly threatened by Many defenders running free in his direction.

“That’s a great football team. Unbelievable program. They’ve got some GUYS over there,” said Rains. “We did all we could. We’ll learn from it, get better and go on to next week.”

It was a scoreless opening quarter, kept that way by a goalline stand from the Bucs defense. Many broke through 10 minutes before halftime, on the first play after highly-recruited junior Tylen Singleton intercepted a Rains’ bomb at his own 25. Tigers’ tailback Trent Williams knifed through a gap on the right side and sailed 75 yards on the next snap.

Many asserted itself on its next chance, starting at its own 9. Eleven plays later, it was 13-0 on the first of three touchdown runs (8, 34 and 21 yards) by Jeremiah James, who eventually piled up 193 yards on just 13 efforts.

The Tigers scratched again on the third play after halftime, a toss sweep left to James, who shook off a pair of Bucs and broke loose. After the 34-yarder, he danced in for two more points and a commanding 21-0 lead that grew to four touchdowns at the end of the next Many series. Prep All-America safety Tackett Curtis, who triggers Many’s attack at quarterback, looped around the right side and raced 45 yards to remove any question with 2:23 left in the third quarter.

“That was an old-fashioned beating, just physical football. We hung in there for a half, and had a couple chances to make some plays,” said Haughton coach Jason Brotherton. “If you do, you might be able to make it a game. But we dropped a couple of balls we thought we might score on, and couldn’t find a spark.

“That’s a really good football team, talented and well coached, and they put it on us pretty good. They just wear you down, and unfortunately your kids lose their will to fight and that was probably the most disappointing thing.

“We match up way better with a spread team. We know that, and that’s what we see most nights,” he said. “We don’t have those big guys right now, so what they do creates problems for us. And they do it well.”

Many coach Jess Curtis had a script for the game, and his Tigers followed it to perfection.

“Offensively we like to take control of the time of possession, and wear down the other defense. We try to get off the field quick on defense. We’ve got 10 of 11 starters back, and a lot were sophomore starters on our state championship team in 2020,” he said. “It was impressive to see how well they did tonight.

“The Rains kid, the receivers they have, they are crisp on offense and we knew we had to be sharp. They’re so well coached. I’m real proud of my guys.”

It was extra special because Many’s defensive coordinator is a proud 2008 Haughton graduate. Tyler Hassell played for coach Rodney Guin’s Bucs and alongside Dak Prescott.

Brotherton  — whose squad got a late lift from a booming 37-yard field goal by Carter Ebarb with 5:25 to go — said the Bucs got a preview of what they’ll encounter around the corner.

“You see what physical football looks like. That’s (like) Byrd High School right there, that we’ll play in a couple weeks,” he said. “That’s how good they are. This put our kids in a big-game atmosphere, and you get to throw some out there who haven’t really played in one yet as starters. A couple responded, and quite a few didn’t.

“You hope you grow from it, and next time they rise more to the occasion in a big game than we did tonight.”

Contact Doug at sbjdoug@gmail.com

 Many 35, Haughton 3

 Score by quarters

Haughton | 0 | 0 | 0 | 3 | – 3
Many | 0 | 13 | 15 | 7 | – 35

Scoring summary

MHS – Trent Williams 75 run (Deacon LaFollette kick)
MHS – Jeremiah James 8 run (kick failed)
MHS – James 34 run (James run)
MHS – Tackett Curtis 45 run (LaFollette kick)
Hau – Carter Ebarb 37 field goal
MHS – James 21 run (LaFollette kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing: Hau, (26-49) – Tyler Rhodes 11-29, Colin Rains 12-23, Davontay Moss 3-minus 3. Many (37-471, 5 TDs) – Jeremiah James 13-193, 3 TDs; Trent Williams 8-147, 1 TD; Sylvonte Aldredge 11-73, Tackett Curtis 1-45, 1 TD; Kentavius Maxie 4-13.

Passing: Hau – Colin Rains 8-21-1, 110 yards. Many (0-0)

Receiving: Hau, Jamarion Montgomery 3-76, John Ecot 1-16, Rashad Douglas 2-14, Jalen Lewis 1-4.