After the Maize South High School football team won its season opener last week on the road, senior Jesse Rogers threw a one-man homecoming celebration Friday for the Mavericks.
He scored four touchdowns, including a 77-yard touchdown run, and propelled Maize South to a 41-0 victory against Goddard Eisenhower.
“He did a great job,” said Maize South coach Brent Pfeifer. “Jesse’s a workhorse for us.”
Rogers kicked off the scoring near the five-minute mark of the first quarter, when his touchdown run put the Mavericks ahead 6-0. Senior Alex Orth’s 23-yard touchdown run occurred with 2:44 left in the quarter. The extra point was good, thanks to sophomore kicker Andy Galliher, and Maize South led 13-0.
The Mavericks closed out the quarter with another touchdown. Rogers scored and Galliher picked up the extra point, which sent Maize South into the second quarter with a 20-0 advantage.
Junior Chase Bell scored on a quarterback sneak with 3:58 remaining in the second quarter. Following the extra point, Maize South was up 27-0.
Sophomore Kale Bulloch managed a 55-yard run for the Mavericks with 1:33 left in the first half. That’s when an injury timeout was called, and a Goddard Eisenhower player left the game with a shoulder injury. The halftime score stood at 27-0.
Rogers struck again in the third quarter, completing a 77-yard touchdown run with 10:37 on the clock. The extra point was good and Maize South’s lead climbed to 34-0.
Rogers wasn’t finished, scoring again for back-to-back touchdowns at the 3:27 mark. Galliher again contributed the extra point for a 41-0 Maize South advantage.
Junior Ty Zorn had an impressive run with 2:41 remaining in the quarter, but officials called a personal foul and Maize South received a 15-yard penalty. Exactly twenty seconds later, multiple flags resulted in calls against Maize South and Goddard Eisenhower. This time, it was the Tigers’ turn to face a 15-yard penalty.
Maize South received a five-yard penalty for false start with fewer than two minutes left in the quarter. Six seconds later, the Mavericks again received a five-yard penalty for false start.
Pfeifer blamed mental mistakes for some of the Mavericks’ lapses Friday. In addition, he remarked that new schools were battling hard. Maize South opened in 2009, and the Goddard Eisenhower football team is new after combining with Goddard last year.
“We’ve been there,” Pfeifer said. “It gets frustrating when you’re a new program.”
He was pleased that Maize South’s offense showed improvement this week. He said the boys also practiced better.
“Our scout team was so much better and we saw dividends tonight,” the coach continued.
Maize South, 5-5 last year, is 2-0 on the season. Pfeifer described special teams as “our best facet of the game right now.”
“We’ve changed the way we practice and the way we prepare each week,” he added.
Pfeifer explained that coaches have moved to a two-platoon system, allowing some athletes to play offense specifically and others to play defense specifically while providing a chance to focus on special teams.
“We’re trying to find our way and put something down that works for our kids and our program,” he said.
Some Maize South players, including a pair of offensive linemen, were injured during practice Wednesday. Sophomore Tucker Luce is out for the season with a broken wrist, and junior Anthony Vitale sustained a concussion. Senior Wes Phillips played sparingly Friday due to a high ankle sprain.
Senior Tristan Short filled in up front and “was fantastic,” said Pfeifer, while sophomore Evan Pierce played at tackle.