Malden bulldozes Portageville for first victory
By ROB TATE ~ DAR Sports Writer
PORTAGEVILLE -- Even though they are tattered, torn and depleted with injuries, the Malden Green Wave looked like a team that isn't ready to throw in the towel Friday evening.
The injury bug bit the Green Wave hard last week. But with a jumbled up offensive line and some inexperience in the backfield, Malden still motored past a reeling Portageville Bulldogs squad that is winless since 2005, 41-8.
"To get that zero off the board, that's big," Malden head coach Gary Blaylock said referring to the team's first tally in the win column. "I feel for (Portageville head coach) Lee (Wallace), but I didn't feel bad enough to lose."
The Green Wave (1-3) looked good in all facets on the game Friday at Vic Reeves Field.
Malden accumulated six touchdowns with two coming from the air, two from the ground game and two on special teams for the 41 points, a team-best point total since Oct. 2006 against Kennett.
The Green Wave got their offense jump started in the first quarter on their second possession. Malden quarterback Kaleb Loughary hooked up with Andy Matthews on a 50-yard pass down the left sideline to get out to the quick 7-0 lead. It was Loughary's first touchdown pass of the season.
Matthews then set up the next Malden touchdown midway through the second quarter. The senior returned a punt 39 yards to the Bulldog 16-yard line that set up a Patrick Wilson 16-yard touchdown run on the very next play.
The Green Wave carried even more momentum into the locker room. With 26 seconds to play in the first half, Loughary found Ryan Cain in the middle of the field. Cain broke a couple tackles and turned it up field for a 30-yard touchdown, his second of the season.
Portageville (0-4) had barely stepped on the field to begin the third quarter when they found themselves down another score as Dillion Criglar opened up the second half with an incredible 70-yard kickoff return.
Sophomore back Bradley Reed added another touchdown in the third quarter, giving the Green Wave a 34-0 lead.
With a mostly JV defense on the field, the Green Wave gave up one touchdown late to Portageville's Vendarius Brown with 37 seconds left in the game on a 1-yard run.
But Ryan Wilson answered as he returned the ensuing kick 80 yards for one last score.
"We played a little better tonight, but we finally played somebody that ain't ranked," Blaylock said referring to the previous two games against Hayti and Thayer.
Although rushing for a total of 85 yards is hardly an eye-popping stat, Malden did it Friday night with mostly underclassmen. Raphael Jones, who had a nice long touchdown run last week against Thayer, will be out for about a month according to Blaylock with an ankle fracture.
There are also a couple players about ready to return from concussions and nose tackle Jonny Burton may be ready for next week's game. Burton has sat out two straight games since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 1 at Scott City.
"We still have a lot of work to do," Blaylock said. "We've got Dexter and Kennett coming up. We can't be too happy. We'll enjoy tonight but then we go back to work tomorrow."
Blaylock was happy with the passing game as Loughary was 4-for-9 for 84 yards and two scores.
"He had time, he threw the ball OK," Blaylock added.
The Green Wave also forced three turnovers in the second half. Malden recovered two fumbles, one by Matthews, and 29-yard interception by Travis Gregory that was returned to the 2-yard line setting up the Reed touchdown in the third quarter.
"We're playing some young guys, but basically we have to do it because we have some hurt," Blaylock said. "We had a couple guys that had a pretty good first half but then they come out and they didn't get the continuity."
Most of all Blaylock was happy to get that first win.
"It was a long time to wait for a win," Blaylock said, "but we got that '0' off (the win-column)."