By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – Aberdeen used a fast start to take a 25-point lead to halftime and forced five turnovers to beat McClain 46-16 Friday night.
“We had a great night defensively, but our offensive line has to get better before next week,” Aberdeen coach Mark Bray said. “They didn’t play well at all tonight.”
Aberdeen (10-2) capitalized on two McClain interceptions in the first to take a 13-0 lead. Linebacker Justin Lucas hauled in the second interception of the night to the McClain 42. Bulldogs QB Josh Williams caught Aaron McMillian for a 32-yard pass to set up his 4-yard keeper for the score.
Williams added two more scoring runs before the half, and junior tailback Chico Harrison also found the end zone from 5 yards out.
McClain (9-4) got on the board with a 67-yard scoring strike from Rotavious Thurmond to Acaunya Brown, with Thurmond running for a two-point conversion to bring the Mustangs to within 20-8. Williams responded with his third scoring run and also found Sammie Burroughs for a 45-yard touchdown right before the break.
Williams finished the night 13 of 25 passing for 271 yards and a lone interception on the Bulldogs’ first play of the game. The sophomore QB spread his passes among five different receivers with Burroughs leading the way with four catches for 108 yards.
“That’s the whole key to our offense is spreading the football around, and Josh has to keep making good decisions,” Bray said.
The Mustangs’ defense kept Aberdeen off the scoreboard in the third quarter while also adding a 69-yard punt return from Brown, but Burroughs and Williams connected on a 51-yard scoring play halfway through the fourth quarter.
Defensively, Aberdeen intercepted five McClain passes with Burroughs, McMillian, Lucas and Kenric McCoy each picking off Mustang QB Thurmond.
The win sets up a rematch with Charleston, which halted the Bulldogs’ shot at a third straight 3A title game last season with a 20-0 shutout.
“I’m not sure our seniors even remember the exact score from last year. They understand what’s involved, and if they want to bad enough, they’ll prepare themselves this week and have a shot to win,” Bray said.