The Malakoff Tigers are off and running.
The Tigers drilled Mabank 21-7 Friday night to open the 2012 football season, mainly by pounding the ball on the ground behind the offensive line of Isreal Chavez, Nelson Ochoa, Diego Medina, Jordan Harris, and David Havlik.
Malakoff took the opening kickoff and went 56 yards in 11 plays — with Damontes Dowell scoring from eight yards out to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead — and never looked back.
Dowell picked up 59 yards on 8 carries before injuring his hip in the first half.
The Tigers were led by senior quarterback Tate Taylor, who went 8-for-14 with a one-yard touchdown toss to Terrance Scott.
Scott had a big game for Coach Jamie Driskell, catching five balls for 50 yards, including a couple of nifty grabs along the sidelines.
Taylor also picked up Malakoff’s other touchdown on a one-yard run, and led the Tigers in rushing with 85 yards on 22 carries.
The Tigers led 14-0 at the half and 21-0 in the third quarter before the Mabank offense could get on track.
That happened for the Panthers when quarterback Rance Thorne connected with Adam Penix on a 77-yard catch and run late in the third quarter to pull the score to 21-7.
Another Panther drive late in the fourth quarter reached the Malakoff 25, but the Tigers held and Mabank was forced to turn the ball over on downs.
The Malakoff defense held the Panthers to just 161 yards, and106 yards of that total came on two plays: the long pass to Penix and a 29-yard run by Clay Gaddis.
The Panthers were led on the ground by Gaddis, who had 63 yards on 12 carries.
Thorne ended the night 8-of-24 for 116 yards, one touchdown and was picked off once by Malakoff’s Marcus Willingham.
The interception gave Malakoff another scoring chance in the first half, with the Tigers setting up on the Mabank 14. Two plays later, however, the Panthers’ Ricky Watkins pounced on a Malakoff fumble to end the scoring threat.
The Tigers will be on the road next week to play Italy in the inaugural Dale Hansen Classic in Waxahachie. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Tickets at the gate will be $8 and district passes will not be accepted. However, fans can pick up tickets at the high school office before Friday, Sept. 7, for just $5.
The school district will also be providing a fan bus for students and adults. Cost is $5 for the round trip. Payment can be made when entering the bus, but call the high school to reserve a spot (903-489-1527).`
The event is being promoted by the Waxahachie Independent School District, the City of Waxahachie and the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce. The Dale Hansen Football Classic will feature three exhibition games Sept. 7-8 – one on Friday night and two on Saturday.
Mabank will host Wills Point for its home opener next Friday.