It was a familiar emotion for Mary Persons head coach Brian Nelson on Friday, but it was not one that made him happy.
Despite Mary Persons running its record to 5-0 with a 48-0 victory over Howard, the Bulldogs win had a pattern all to familiar to Mary Persons players and coaches -- a victory in spite of a large amount of penalties, which included personal foul penalties.
The Bulldogs were flagged for 165 penalty yards and had two touchdowns nullified by penalties. Mary Persons, which improved to 2-0 in GHSA Region 2-AAAA, moves forward with home games the next two weeks against Westside and Rutland.
The way we play and what we do, it does not even allow anyone to enjoy (the win). We have penalty after penalty after penalty, which again brings back big plays or does stupid stuff. I told them after the game that they basically disgraced every fan that came here (Friday). Theyve disgraced the 80-plus years of Mary Persons football, Nelson said. I mean, thats what they do on the field. You cant feel good about it because its going to cost us. Were not going to be able to be as good as we could be because of all that stupid stuff.
Howard falls to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in region play. JaQuan Stinsons 49 yards led the Huskies on the ground.
It wasnt our night; we didnt play well. Mary Persons played well; they deserved everything they got, Howard head coach Barney Hester said.
In what ended up being a microcosm of the game, Mary Persons had a kickoff return for a touchdown by Akebren Ralls called back by an illegal block on the games first play. The Bulldogs responded by driving 65 yards in 5:53 to score on a 6-yard run by Dee High. High was able to keep the drive going near midfield, gaining 5 yards on a fourth-down play from the Howard 40. High scored early in the second quarter from 18 yards out to cap another sustained scoring drive against a gritty Howard defense.
High finished with four touchdowns, rushing for 103 yards on 15 carries.
We want to assert ourselves running the ball like we always do on offense, Nelson said. There are things that went well. But you dont even notice it because of all the dumb stuff.
Trailing by two scores in the second quarter, Howard appeared to be on the cusp of grabbling some momentum, only to have it dwindle. The Huskies defense held at its 42, forcing a Mary Persons punt with Howard taking over at its own 7. The Huskies gained a first down on a run by Stinson, but the ball popped out and was recovered by the Bulldogs. Following a penalty against Howard, High rushed in from 10 yards away for a 21-0 Mary Persons lead with 21-0 left in the half.
Mary Persons added a final score before halftime when quarterback Cal King found an open Ralls behind the Howard defense. Ralls sprinted the rest of the way for a 70-yard score, high-stepping his way into the end zone.
High scored on the first Mary Persons drive of the second half with Tra Taylor and Kendrell Taylor getting the final two Bulldogs scores from 4 and 28 yards.