For those who came to Stokes Stadium last Friday night to see one of the best ground games in high-school football, they were not disappointed. However, no one expected the back who would put up massive yardage not to be East’s Brian Kimbrow.
While the MUS defense held the nation’s leading rusher to only 38 yards, well below his 300+ yard average, junior RB Shane Tucker was the standout on this night, rushing for 181 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns and catching 2 passes for 44 yards and another score. Tucker’s five total touchdowns ties a school mark set by Andy McCarroll, who rushed for five touchdowns in a 1985 win against Harding. With the help of Tucker and the defense, the Owls sent the Homecoming crowd home happy with their 41-0 blanking of previously-undefeated East.
Tucker showed from the outset that he was ready to take over the game. After his 30-yard return of the opening kickoff, he carried the ball on all six plays of the possession, finishing the drive with a 28-yard scoring run that capped the 59-yard drive that took up 2:39. Gary Wunderlich’s PAT gave MUS the 7-0 early lead.
From here, the Owls scored on every first-half possession but one as they controlled both lines of scrimmage and established themselves up front.
Tucker added a 31-yard scoring catch and run on a screen pass from Toby Baker to double the Owls’ advantage early in the second quarter.
Tucker would go on to add three more touchdowns, all on short runs (8, 5, and 2 yards), as he continued to run hard and find the holes created by the offensive line. And when an Owl drive was stopped midway through the second quarter, Wunderlich continued his outstanding year as he connected from 46-yards out for his third field goal of the season.
MUS totally dominated the first half in route to a 38-0 lead. They held the potent Mustangs, who were averaging 34.6 points per game coming into this tilt, to only 1 first down and 25 net yards. Kimbrow garnered only 18 yards on 10 carries in the first half, numbers well below his average. And while the defense was playing well, the Owls moved the ball as they picked up 14 first downs and 198 yards rushing to help build the large lead.
With a running clock in the second half, MUS defenders continued to pressure the East offense as they stymied Kimbrow, a Vanderbilt commitment, and the other Mustangs. East’s deepest penetration of the evening came on their opening second-half drive as they moved to the MUS 14-yard line, but they got no closer as the Owl defense stopped them on fourth down when Matt Bolton intercepted an Eddie Harper pass in the endzone.
The only points of the half came on another Wunderlich field goal as the sophomore connected on a 23-yard kick to culminate the 8-play, 29-yard drive that followed an East turnover at the Mustang 35-yard line.
With the running clock, the half went quickly as many Owl reserves saw action and held the large lead.
Ultimately, East managed only 96 total yards, including only 38 from Kimbrow on 16 carries. Meanwhile, MUS picked up 325 total yards and did not turn the ball over, mistakes which have plagued them in their losses.
With the win, MUS improves to 3-3 while East falls to 5-1.
Next week, the Owls open division play as they take on Christian Brothers. Kickoff at Stokes Stadium is set for 7:00 pm next Friday night.