The Mavericks’ rushing stampede through the Cougars defense was an all time performance as it led the team to a lopsided season opening 54-26 victory.
Not letting up was the key for the Mavs Saturday. “Play fast,” was the team’s mantra as it headed to Sioux Falls and that is exactly what it did.
Normally, running the ball isn’t considered a foot-on-the-gas type of play style but there are exceptions when you play smash mouth football like the Mavs.
The Mavs running back room put up 461 yards by the time the clock hit double zeros in the fourth quarter. The three RB’s also totaled six touchdowns.
In the first half, the ball was put into the hands of backup running backs Tony Anger and Chrisitan Vassers. Anger was the only player to find the end zone throughout the first quarter as he rushed the ball for a two-yard touchdown to give the Mavs the advantage. He also found himself another one-yard touchdown in the third.
After Angers’ touchdown, Vasser took over and made a name for himself. Prior to Saturday, Vasser had never reached the end zone and also never had a game where he surpassed 100 yards. But as the clock dwindled down to conclude the half, Vasser stomped down the field breaking through four tackles giving himself a 58-yard touchdown to give the Mavs the lead. Vasser finished the game with a career high 144 yards averaging 13 yards a carry.
During halftime, changes were made and Shen Butler-Lawson came back out to retake his position as starting running back.
“To see what they did out there just really motivated me and made me happy,” said Butler-Lawson. “Vasser is my boy and he knew I was coming in at half. He just told me it’s my time to execute.”
With the game at 20-13, the Mavs needed a spark and that’s exactly what he provided. In just the third quarter, Butler-Lawson reached the end zone three times. The first from 37 yards out, the second from 14 and the last from 34. With 21 points to his name, he wasn’t finished. In the fourth he broke loose for a 67-yard touchdown to conclude his four touchdown night.
“Teamwork was definitely at a premium. Our receivers, tight ends and offensive linemen were all blocking very well,” said head coach Todd Hoffner. “Shen also has the ability to make people miss, which is part of his skillset. That was a big part of the equation.”
Butler-Lawson’s second half performance of 221 yards was a career high and also the sixth best in Maverick history. His performance earned him Offensive Player of the Week honors in both the NSIC and D2Football.com.
“It feels good but the credit goes out to the O-line and the coaching staff who put me in a position to do that,” said Butler-Lawson. “That’s just one game, there’s 10 more to go. Just got to keep looking forward.”
The defense also had a lot of success against USF. Trey Vaval, Jacob Daulton and Colton Hoffman posted five tackles each while Max Lommel posted his first interception.
The Mavericks will now look to “Defend the Blake” for their first home game of the year versus Wayne State University Saturday.
Header Photo: Running back Shen Butler-Lawson made Maverick history in Saturday’s game, totaling the sixth-most yards in Maverick football history on his way to NSIC Offensive Player of the Week. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
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