Duluth’s Khalil Newton (84) slips through the reach of Meadowcreek’s Laquan Johnson (7) to score a touchdown during the first half of Friday’s game at Meadowcreek. (Photo: Kyle Hess)
NORCROSS- The Duluth Wildcats and Meadowcreek Mustangs entered Friday night’s contest winless, but eager to get in the win column.
After dropping their game last week to Norcross, it was definitely nice for Duluth (1-4, 1-2) to get on the board early and often against the Mustangs (0-4, 0-2) as they routed their 7-AAAAAA rival 34-7 at Meadowcreek High School.
“Our whole focus this week was to heal as a team and get better on both sides of the ball,” said Duluth head coach Jason Conner. “We felt like we are not a team that has performed to our potential, but tonight we took a big step forward.”
Duluth quarterback Thad Bell was surgical out on the football field, leading the Wildcats to their largest scoring output of the season. The left-handed QB tossed for four touchdowns on 15-of-27 passing. He tossed for a 252 yards without an interception.
“We executed a lot better this week,” said Bell about the great start. “ We felt like we shouldn’t have been 0-4, so we worked hard all week in practice.”
Practice paid dividends, as he connected with Khalil Newton on a 51-yard strike down the right sideline for an early 14-0 score.
The freshman wide receiver had a big game, snagging three balls for 119 yards. His first quarter score was the longest play from scrimmage, while starting the contest with a 49-yard reception.
Despite Newton recording a game-high in receiving yards it was Devin Terry and Tyler Davis that saw the most ball from the lefty. Terry nabbed a game-high seven balls for 105 yards and two receiving TDs, while Davis caught five balls for 38 yards and a TD.
“We have a great history together,” said Terry about his relationship with Bell. “We have known each other for four years and been working hard since we were freshman for this moment.”
While their connection continues to grow, Meadowcreek running back Ryann Moore continues to excel out on the football field. While Meadowcreek was bottled up all night, limited to 80 yards of total offense through three quarters, it was Moore that broke through in the last drive of the game. The Mustangs avoided their second straight shutout as Moore scampered for a 59-yard TD run. The 6-foot senior back was the lone bright spot for the Mustangs offense, as he rushed for 104 yards on 18 carries. He recorded 104 of the 135 total yards of offense for Meadowcreek.
“I was very proud of our defense,” said Connor. “They played great (Duluth defense). They (Meadowcreek) have a special player in No. 4 (Moore), but I felt like we bottled him up all night. I was very excited about our defense. Like you saw at the end, when he ran for the TD, he’s a good player.”
Moore received high praise from Duluth, but it was not enough tonight as Meadowcreek will have to wait another week to try and pick up their first victory of the season and first since 2007.
DULUTH 34, MEADOWCREEK 7
Duluth 21 7 6 0-34
Meadowcreek 0 0 0 7-7
Duluth- Myles Preston 11 run (Nikolai Iotav kick) 10:54
Duluth- Khalil Newton 51 pass from Thad Bell (Iotav Kick) 7:49
Duluth- Devin Terry 29 pass from Bell (Iotav kick) 4:19
Duluth- Terry 20 pass from Bell (Iotav kick) 11:49
Duluth- Tyler Davis pass from Bell (kick fail) 4:39
Meadocreek- Ryann Moore 59 run (Daquan Harris kick) 1:45