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MTZ Braves rout Mattoon, improve to 5-0

Makobi Adams rushing in a two-yard touchdown in a 35-14 win against Mattoon at Mt. Zion.

Staff Writer

Mt. Zion Braves’ quarterback on his second drive of the game with a two-yard rushing touchdown after absorbing contact to the head to send a message to the Green Wave. That message ended in 238 passing yards, 38 rushing yards, three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a 35-14 Braves win over Mattoon.

“It feels good, especially against a team in our conference that always puts up a good fight,” Adams said. When you go up like that early, it always feels good when you’re executing plays and playing really well early.”

The Braves’ offense started their first drive with the run game and scored 52 seconds into the game. Jayger Damarin rushed for a 29-yard gain to get the Braves into the red zone. Adams then stepped back and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Harvey. Gabe Shumaker nailed the extra point to give the Braves a 7-0 lead.

The Braves’ defense forced the Green Wave into a three and out. The Braves took the ball down the field and Adams rushed in the two-yard touchdown and Shumaker nailed the extra point to give the Braves a 14-0 lead.

The Braves defense contained the Green Wave and Jayger Damarin ended the third drive with a rushing touchdown and the extra point was good to give the Braves a 21-0 lead.

The Braves defense caged the Green Wave once again, but the Braves were forced to punt, but recovered the punt return. The Green Wave dropped the punt due to the pressure of Chase Fink and Karson Bollhorst gathered the ball and set the Braves up on the 30-yard line.

Adams on the 50-yard line launched a medium pass that ended in Grant McAtee’s hands for a 50-yard touchdown and Shumaker nailed the extra point to give the Braves a 28-0 lead in the second quarter.

The Green Wave scored their first touchdown when Slater Trier threw a pass to Gavin Cline for a four-yard touchdown to make the score 28-7.

The Braves offense quickly regrouped after Jc Anderson got the kickoff return to the 50-yard line. The Braves got the ball to the 32-yard line where Adams stepped back and found Anderson in the endzone for the touchdown. The Braves took a 35-7 halftime lead.

The Green Wave scored one lone touchdown in the second half when Tier threw a 49-yard pass to Trysten Sewell for the touchdown. The Braves ended with a 35-14 win.

“We are 5-0, I thought we came out and played well at the beginning,” Head coach Patrick Etherton said. “We were up 35-7 and then I thought the second half we came out a little flat. We were up by four scores and we have to figure out a way to keep things rolling. But, we are 5-0 and that’s all that matters.”

The 4A No. 6 Braves improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in Apollo Conference play and are now playoff eligible. The Braves will face Mahomet-Seymour next week on the road. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs are the back-to-back Apollo Conference champs and this game will likely determine the 2023 Apollo Conference champs.

“We are going to watch the film, get better and make some corrections,” Coach Etherton said. “Mahomet’s a two-time conference champ so we have our work cut out for us, they’re playing good football, so we have a lot to do.”

Adams in his career as a starter is 0-2 against Mahomet-Seymour and was injured in his first year on the road there. For the senior, it is his last chance to beat the Bulldogs.

“My mindset is that I haven’t beat Mahomet as a starter and I want to change that this year,” Adams said. “Honestly, I really think we can. This year we have a great team, great players. Honestly, I think we can stack up really well with them and I hope we can make it happen.”

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