By Trevor Scott | KBEC Sports
SirMichael Veasley rushed for a new school record during a Life Waxahachie district victory Friday at home against Mabank.
Despite the first cold winds and temperature in the mid-40s of the season, Veasley rushed 23 times for 309 yards and a school-record 6 touchdowns in the Mustangs 37-28 victory.
Following the win, which improved Life Waxahachie to 6-2 on the season and 2-1 in District 9-4A play, Veasley was quick to pass the praise to his teammates and the man upstairs.
“I would like to thank God, and my teammates for trusting me to carry the ball,” the senior running back told KBEC Sports. “[…] We’re trying to do something this school has not done before, and that’s win playoff games. We are not known as a football school, but we are fixing to be.”
Jalen Mann led the Mustang defense with 11 total tackles. As a unit, the Life Waxahachie defensive group surrendered 351 yards on 51 plays, while the Mustang offense gained 394 total yards on 46 plays.
The Mustangs currently sit in a tie for second with (5-3, 2-1) Crandall in 9-4A play with two regular-season games to go, while (5-3, 3-0) Midlothian Heritage leads the pack. Mabank and Athens currently hold onto the fourth spot with a 1-2 district mark and Quinlan Ford remains winless.
However, the regular season shakes out, Life Waxahachie head football coach Heath Blalock said he is elated with his team’s performance thus far.
“We don’t really have back-up players, we have kids who get in there and get the job done, and I’m super proud of then,” Blalock said.
Both teams relied heavily on tough defense early during the Friday tilt.
On the first Mustang drive, quarterback Gage Mayfield (6-of-10, 51 yards) led the team methodically down the field with a mix of runs and short passes, until a shot from the 30-yard line toward the end zone was intercepted near the goal line and returned by a Panther defensive back to the Mabank 29-yard line.
The defensive stalemate continued and culminated in an interception by Mustang defensive back Xavier Boose (9 tackles, 1 INT) with 7:34 left in the first half. At the time of Mabank turnover, Life Waxahachie trailed, 7-0.
Despite the opportunity to take advantage of the turnover, Mayfield threw his second interception of the night, which was then fumbled and recovered by the Mustangs. The exchange ultimately set up Mayfield and the Mustang offense inside the Mabank 5-yard line.
Veasley capitalized with his first of six touchdowns on the night. The two-point attempt failed and left the Mustangs down, 7-6, with 4:24 left to play in the first half.
Two minutes and change later, a Mabank ball carrier broke free for a 39-yard touchdown. The Mustangs then quickly responded with less than two minutes to play in the half with a 55-yard option play to Veasley for his second touchdown.
The two-point conversion attempt again failed for the Mustangs, sending Mabank into the halftime locker room with a 14-12 lead.
The offenses finally came alive and found the end zone in the second half.
Early on, however, both teams moved the ball well but seemed to always stall due to sound defensive football and a penalty or two.
Then, with 5:00 left in the third quarter, Veasley broke through for another long touchdown run to give Life Waxahachie its first lead of the game, 18-14.
Mabank took almost no time to respond with a touchdown of its own to retake the lead, 21-18.
A major penalty for blocking in the back on the ensuing kickoff would set the Mustangs back to start at their own 5-yard line.
On the ensuing snap, Veasley ran up the middle and eluded multiple defenders for a 95-yard touchdown and broke the game wide open. The Mustangs converted the PAT to take a 25-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Mabank scored on a red zone play-action pass. The fatigue of both defenses was finally showing and the stadium as a whole could feel the pressure rising. After a critical pass interference call that would advance the Mustangs down to the Panthers 10-yard line, Veasley scored his fifth touchdown and gave his team the lead 31-28 with 4:22 left in the game.
With the Mabank offense threatening late but facing a fourth-down situation, the Panther pass was tipped into the hands of a receiver who dropped the ball and resulted in a turnover. Life Waxahachie took over with 1:57 left in the game, ultimately paving the way for Veasley to seal the deal with his sixth and final touchdown run of the night and 37-28 final score.
Life Waxahchie has a District 9-4A home game at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1st against Midlothian Heritage.
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