By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
MOOREVILLE – “It feels great.”
That’s was Mooreville senior Gary Johnson’s reaction after beating rival Mantachie for the fourth time in his high school career.
The Troopers knocked off the Mantachie Mustangs 40-19 Friday night in front of a packed house at Steve Bass Field.
“It’s our biggest rivalry,” said Mooreville senior Channing Nanney, “The line did great, everybody executed, and we got a victory.”
The win for Mooreville moved the Troopers to 3-0 for the first time in the Kevin Austin era.
“It’s a good feeling,” Austin said, “These guys have worked hard; we’ve got a talented group.”
Mantachie looked like the team to beat early in the game.
Mantachie received the opening kick, and drove the ball 60 yards in 11 plays. Dalton McMillen capped the drive with a 6-yard run to give Mantachie a 6-0 lead.
After that, however, it was all Mooreville.
The Troopers responded with a time consuming drive of 5:24. Josh Johnson capped the drive with a 3 yard touchdown run to give Mooreville a 7-6 lead after the 1st quarter.
The home team used three scores in the second quarter to break the game open.
Quarterback Griff Loftis found three different receivers (Errick Dillworth, Gary Johnson, and Nanney) for three touchdowns in the second to help the Troopers bolster a 26-6 halftime lead.
The second half saw both teams trade scores.
For Mooreville, Josh Johnson had touchdown runs of 27 and 6. The sophomore carried the ball 16 times for 160 yards.
“He ran it hard tonight, and he grew up tonight,” Austin said, “The offensive line helped him.”
Mantachie (1-2) completed their scoring with two McMillen touchdown passes to Zach McCoy and Trent Ellis, respectively.
McMillen finished the night passing, completing 23 throws for 260 yards.
“Dalton’s a good football player,” said Mantachie coach Andrew Aldridge, “He’s just got to continue to work each week.”