Mays is a perennial playoff squad but found itself in unfamiliar territory against the Sequoyah Chiefs and their Wing-T offense.
The Raiders struggled early on adjusting to Sequoyah’s pre-snap motion in the backfield and pulling linemen leading blocks on counter or trap runs. However, as the game progressed, Mays’ defense clamped down, giving the offense a cushion to pull away for a 48-28 win.
With the victory, top-seeded Mays moves to the second round of the 6A playoffs and will host No. 2 seed Centennial from Region 7-AAAAAA.
“We knew once our kids got settled and got used to the playoff atmosphere, we would be OK. We gave up some big plays. When you get hyped, you forget your alignments and assignments,” said Mays head coach Niketa Battle.
“Most the teams we’ve played have been spread teams. This is a Wing-T team. When you’re doing a lot of movement and trying to get linebackers to fit, they can catch those creases. When you don’t see that every day, it’s like teams preparing for Georgia Tech. If you don’t practice against the Wing-T every day, when you play them, they’re going to bust some big plays against you.”
The first quarter was full of action with both schools drawing even at 14-14 at the end of the frame.
Mays running back Tyree Nelson drew first blood when he took off for a 69-yard touchdown on the third play of the game.
Sequoyah wasted little time with a response. Cole Jacobs hauled in a 48-yard pass to pull even a 7-7. Additional first-quarter touchdowns came courtesy of Mays’ Amir Abdur-Raham on a 90-yard reception and Sequoyah’s bruising running back, Cameron Gales, on a 1-yard running play.
The second quarter witnessed rushing touchdowns from both teams with Chris McKibbins of Mays and Gales adding to his total for a 21-21 halftime score.
Sequoyah opened the third quarter with Gales muscling his way across the goal line to push the lead to 28-21. Mays responded with a scoring drive of its own with Nelson scoring for the second time. The 28-28 image on the scoreboard held as the quarter came to a close.
This seesaw duel flipped to a one-sided affair for Mays in the final stanza.
The Raiders offense was sharp, tallying 20 points in the quarter. Mays’ defense was just as potent, forcing and recovering a fumble in addition to racking up consecutive sacks to crush the Chiefs’ late-game drives. The unit also snatched an interception to seal the deal and clinch a spot in the second round.
Sequoyah’s hard-fought battle ends in disappointment and a first-round playoff exit. The Chiefs finish the year at 6-5 overall with a 4-3 mark in Region 6-6A.
“To get it 28-28 at the end of the third, we knew it was a matter of who would break first. We broke and it opened the door for them. The fumble hurt us and it gave them a chance to take a two-touchdown lead,” said Sequoyah head coach James Teter.