May River had plans to start a new tradition Friday night. All they needed to do to follow through was win.
The Sharks took care of that requirement, dominating visiting Whale Branch on both sides of the ball en route to a 27-7 victory that was capped with students streaming onto the field to celebrate with the team at midfield while House of Pain’s “Jump Around” blared over the P.A. system.
The student section had plenty to celebrate all night, as the Sharks took the opening kickoff and marched down the field for a score and never let up en route to a 3-0 start — surpassing their win total from each of their first two seasons.
Ahmad Green rushed for 75 yards on 12 carries and was 9-of-15 for 194 yards and four TDs to lead the Sharks’ offense. Brandon Morales had another big game on the ground, rushing for 159 yards on 27 carries and taking a screen pass 58 yards for a touchdown.
“He’s hungry,” May River coach Rodney Summers said. “He’s ready to tote it, and I think he’s proved he can run with a lot of the top backs in the state. I don’t think he’s really that fast, he just runs really hard.”
The Sharks controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and mostly held Irvin Mulligan — the area’s leading rusher through two weeks — in check. Mulligan had a 42-yard rushing touchdown but finished with a season-low 60 yards on 15 carries.
“They were more physical than us and knocked us off the line,” Warriors coach Jerry Hatcher said. “Several times I looked up and our offensive linemen were standing up and their kids were hitting us in the belly because they were doing what they were supposed to do.”
Steffin Gadson picked off two passes for the Sharks, who led 21-0 at halftime on Green’s touchdown passes to Terry Fields, Zach Brzezinski, and Morales. Mulligan’s touchdown run on the opening series of the second half gave the Warriors hope, but the Sharks answered with a long drive capped by Green’s 5-yard toss to tight end Micah Burton, who had three catches for 69 yards.
Whale Branch had one last chance to get back in it but had a touchdown erased by a penalty and fumbled the snap on the next play. May River recovered and ran out the clock on a third consecutive impressive win to set up another matchup of unbeaten teams next week at Hilton Head High.
“Every win is great, but now we have to look on to next week,” linebacker Ridge Dowe said. “As soon as the game is over, we have to start preparing for the next game. We’ve got Hilton Head next week, so we’re going to enjoy it for a little bit and then start getting ready for them.”
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