PREP FOOTBALL: Maxwell leads Indians to second win in four days
FORT WHITE — Nothing was slowing down Stanley Maxwell on Monday night.
Not two-days rest and certainly not Providence’s defense.
Fort White’s running back piled up 168 yards on the ground and scored twice to lead the Indians to a 47-14 Region 1-3A win over Providence at Arrowhead Stadium. Maxwell’s performance came just three days after he pummeled Williston for 202 yards.
It was a pivotal win for Fort White, which was one point behind Providence in the regional points standings as of last week. The Indians now head into a bye before facing two tough opponents in Union County and Dixie County.
“I felt pretty good,” Maxwell said. “I had to come out and perform for my team. It feels good to get a win and we’ll enjoy this bye week. You don’t want to go into a bye week losing.”
Maxwell looked fresh from the get-go. He carried the ball seven times on Fort White’s opening 8-play, 69-yard drive and finished it off with a 16-yard touchdown run.
The Indians (4-2) then put the Stallions (1-4) away in the second quarter. Maxwell took off for a 44-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the period and Donovan Jenkins gave his offense the ball right back when he recovered a backwards lateral from Providence quarterback Michael Gilligan.
Four plays later, Brayden Summers dove into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 21-0. Fort White combined to rush for 348 yards.
“We knew they were small up front so we wanted to be physical,” Fort White head coach Demetric Jackson said. “To me, their biggest weakness is their team speed. From their perspective, they’re thinking Fort White is throwing the ball everywhere so let’s make sure we spread them out. I went reverse — one of our strengths is running the ball so let’s pound them. That first drive we came down there and pounded them and they’re like, ‘oh man. We’re trying to stop the pass and they’re running down our throats.’ ”
Garrett Dennis answered Summers’s score with a 39-yard touchdown run to get Providence on the scoreboard but Fort White answered shortly before halftime. Maxwell and company drove 47 yards in nine plays, with quarterback Dylan Blair connecting with Rahman Paul for a 5-yard touchdown to take a 28-7 lead into the break.
That strike came one play after Blair hooked up Terrance Jones for a 17-yard completion on a 4th-and-11. But Blair and his receivers still struggled to find consistency in game number six, with Blair only completing eight of 21 attempts for 125 yards, though he did throw three touchdown passes.
“It was the receivers today,” Jackson said. “They don’t expect the ball to come to them so they come off fast and then they’re like, ‘oh he isn’t going to throw it’ and then all of a sudden they see the ball up in the air. Most of those throws are designed to go to somebody else but depending on how they’re playing it (Blair) ends up going to a different guy. They’ve got to keep going and run hard every single time.”
Blair, however, made throws when he needed to.
He converted a 4th-and-11 on Fort White’s opening drive of the second half, hooking up with Paul for a 13-yard gain. That set up a 29-yard touchdown pass to Izaya Latham on the very next play to extend the Indians’ lead to 33-7.
Fort White’s defense pushed the lead further on the very next play when Gilligan let the ball slip out of his hands as he dropped back to pass. Multiple players missed the recovery before Derrick Roberson scooped it up and took it 24 yards for another score.
Gilligan had a 1-yard touchdown sneak on Providence’s next drive but the Stallions struggled to consistently move the ball against Fort White’s defense, tallying only 113 yards of total offense. The Indians also sacked Gilligan four times and Latham intercepted him once.
But even with the huge margin of victory, Jackson still expected more from the Indians.
“We should have never given them 14 points,” Jackson said. “I’m happy that we won but not too particularly happy with how we played. If this was one of the tougher teams we were going to play, I would have been happy but not against this competition.”
Fort White’s final touchdown came from Blair, who hit Roberson in stride for a 34-yard score with 57 seconds left in the third quarter. Roberson caught three passes for 58 yards.
The Indians had a chance to score two more times in the fourth with their backups but turned the ball over twice on fumbles inside the Providence 25-yard line.
“This bye will be good to rest up,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to be anxious just waiting for (Union County) and Dixie because we want to put them away. It’ll be nice to rest up after two back-to-back games and work on a few things and correct some mistakes.”