Mervo’s defense didn’t need long to take over Saturday’s football game against Dulaney.
The No. 12 Mustangs ran back two interceptions for touchdowns in just four minutes to spark a 42-0 victory at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Field for their second win in two years over the Lions.
“It was a big deal to set the tone,” said Terry Jones, Mervo senior wide receiver and safety. “Knowing we got knocked off for the city championship last year (by Dunbar), we wanted to come back strong and make a statement to start off.”
By halftime of the season opener for both teams, the Mustangs led 35-0 and forced a running clock for the rest of the game. The defense scored three of those touchdowns in the half and added another in the third quarter.
Corey Shell, Kennedy McKissic, Toney Blair and Rayvon Smith each returned an interception for a touchdown.
The Mustangs played stifling defense the entire game, showing off depth throughout the unit. The starting defensive line of Xavier Shell, Diego Ricardo, Jermaine Miles and Tyreke Anderson kept the pressure on Dulaney quarterback Kyrone Fox, a converted receiver.
“It was his first varsity start at quarterback, so we knew he would have to fight through adversity,” Dulaney coach Daron Reid said. “Our guys had to pick him up. This wasn’t like seven-on-seven during the summer. This was against a good team that was ranked for a reason.”
Mervo coach Patrick Nixon said Fox looked good on film.
“He looked tall. He looked poised. He was making great throws,” Nixon said. “I think he felt a little bit of pressure. We scouted him well and we were able to anticipate some of the plays they were going to do ahead of time. That led to a lot of the interceptions that we had.”
Fox threw most of his passes to the outside and the Mustangs receivers were there.
Shell scored less than two minutes into the game on a 19-yard return and McKissic ran his pick back 27 yards for a 14-0 lead with 8:27 to go.
Blair closed the half with a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown. Rayvon Smith returned his for 25 yards to finish the third quarter for a 42-0 lead.
Ricardo, a senior defensive end, said he believes the defensive line, which went two or three deep at each position, was a big key to the win.
“I think we affected the game a lot. I think (Fox) didn’t expect he was going to come out here and do what he did today. He thought he was going to come out here … and score on us but that was not an option today.”
While the defense spent a lot of time on the field, the Mustangs also got a couple of touchdown passes from quarterback Kelin Kimborough, who hit Corey Peterkin with an 18-yard scoring pass, and Jones, who turned about a 20-yard reception into a 48-yard touchdown.
The Mustangs also had two touchdowns erased by penalties.
Nixon said, with his biggest team ever, the teams has depth all over.
“We have 52 kids on our team and the reason being is we had a lot of kids really dedicated this offseason and I just couldn’t cut them. Too many guys who can play. I told guys, ‘If you want to be on this team, we’re not having any charity guys, we’ve got to be able to play football.’ And I think I have guys, who from top to bottom, can play football.”
M 21 14 7 0 — 42
D 0 0 0 0 — 0
M— C.Shell 19 int. ret. (Hermann kick)
M—McKissic 27 int. ret. (Hermann kick)
M— Peterkin 18 pass from Kimborough (Hermann kick)
M—Jones 48 pass from Kimborough (Hermann kick)
M—Blair 28 int. ret. (Hermann kick)
M—R. Smith 25 int. ret (Hermann kick)