Jordan Woodruff wraps up a Mundy’s Mill ballcarrier during their 23-18 win.
(Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)
The McIntosh Chiefs know the road does not get any easier from here, but they have set themselves up for an exciting season with a 23-18 win over the Mundy's Mill Tigers.
The Chiefs' homecoming victory pushes their record to 4-1, their best mark since 1995. They will have a week off to rest before they gear up for their tome region schedule, starting with a game against Whitewater.
"This is gonna be a great momentum builder to carry into the second season when we start region play. We've gotta be ready for it," says McIntosh coach Lee Belknap. Belknap knows they have their work cut out for them when they return against Whitewater, calling them the favorite to win the region. "We're gonna have our hands full. We'll need two weeks to get ready and if they gave us another two weeks we'd take it."
Perhaps the team is being a bit modest because they have gotten off to a great start. On Friday night, the team showed grit and determination in toppling a talented Mundy's Mill squad.
McIntosh got on the board first, engineering a 66 yard scoring drive midway through the first frame. The push was highlighted by a 22 yard completion from Andrew Johnson to Bo Brown. Johnson finished off the drive on an option keeper for a 12 yard touchdown. Mike Licitra's extra point gave the Chiefs and early 7-0 lead.
Mundy's MIll had a chance to answer back late in the quarter after they blocked a punt and started in McIntosh territory. A fumble and big loss would push them back out of scoring range.
Mundy's Mill made another push on their next series before stalling at the Chief 28 yard line. The Tigers went for it on fourth and 13 and nearly scored, but McIntosh cornerback Reid Deloach defended it well.
Deloach and the rest of the defensive backs had a big game limiting Mundy's Mill to 104 yards passing despite a speedy receiving corp and a quarterback with a big arm. "We tell those guys we need them to give us another down to play and that's what they did," said Belknap.
McIntosh made good on the defensive stand, racking up an impressive 72 yard scoring drive in only four plays. Victor Nguyen kept the chains moving when he picked up 10 yards on third and three. The very next play Andrew Johnson took the ball himself and raced through the heart of the defense for a 55 yard touchdown. Licitra's extra point put the Chiefs ahead 14-0.
Mundy's Mill would get on the board right before halftime on a one yard touchdown run with 37 seconds left. Jake Carney blocked the extra point to make it a 14-6 margin heading into the locker rooms.
Mundy's Mill struck again on the opening drive of the second half, scoring on a 58 yard touchdown run. McIntosh stopped the two point conversion attempt to make it a 14-12 game.
The Chiefs offense fired back up after their defense would force a three and out. They wasted no time, going to the house on their first play. Andrew Johnson found Trey Walters streaking up the seam and hit him perfectly in stride. Walters did the rest blazing past the Tiger defense up the field for a 61 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good making it a 20-12 McIntosh lead.
McIntosh extended their lead on the next drive, narrowly missing out on another touchdown. A long third and 22 was chopped in half when Johnson hit Victor Nguyen for 18 yards. On fourth down Johnson found Walters past the sticks to move the chains. It appeared Johnson and Nguyen hooked up for a 13 yard touchdown, but he was ruled out of bounds. The Chiefs would settle for a 31 yard field goal from Mike Licitra to make it 23-12 with under nine minutes remaining.
Mundy's Mill drove the length of the field for a touchdown, but their two point attempt was stopped again.
McIntosh got the ball back with three minutes left and milked a lot of time off the clock before handing it back over. The Chief defense handled the rest when Jabari Ajao's interception on a tipped ball finished off the Tigers.
It was truly a team effort for the Chiefs in the victory. "I don't think you can pick out any one player this week. You have to say the guy wearing the green helmet got the job done," Belknap said.
One of the strongest facets of the attack was the punishing performance by the McIntosh offensive line. "The line had a great game. They did what they needed to do to put points on the board."
Perhaps most importantly was the Chiefs ability to shake off last week's loss and get themselves ready. Now they're hungry to keep winning. "We challenged them that mature football teams bounce back," said Belknap. "We bounced back. We think this could propel us where we want to go."