The Duncan Banner
One of the burning questions hanging over the Velma-Alma Comets Friday night was how well senior running back Dallen Mercer would play, despite a high ankle sprain.
Mercer answered with an emphatic performance, carrying the ball 15 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns as V-A rolled over Walters, 50-27 at Edgar Martin Field.
“Dallen did get in and ran the ball well,” V-A coach Greg Gothard said. “I’ve never had to deal with high ankle sprains, so I have no idea what I’m dealing with. He didn’t practice one time all week, but he came out with his ankle in good shape. There were a lot of good things in the game, but defensively we’ve got to play better.”
Ironically though, it was a fake punt run by Checotah Lynn in the second quarter that proved to be the real backbreaker on the evening for the Blue Devils.
Leading 26-14 and facing a 4th and 15 from the V-A 34-yard line, the Comets lined up in punt formation with Lynn at the ready.
Sporting his traditional rugby style punt, Lynn went about three steps before taking off down field, before finally being brought down at the Walters 15-yard line. V-A scored two plays later to increase the lead to 34-14.
“We do rugby punt for a reason,” Lynn said. “If I see a hole then I’m going to go for it, and if I don’t I’ll kick it. When I counted them up, we had them (Walters) outmanned on the right side so I went for it. It was a really good play and it put them back on their heels.”
Gothard said he leaves the decision up to his senior if he’s going to kick or not.
“First of all that is his (Checotah’s) call if he wants to run,” he said about the fake punt. “The rule is if you run, you better make it. I thought there was no way he was going to make it. When he took off I wasn’t happy, but was in the end. Good athletes can make up for brain power sometimes, and I’m glad he’s on our side.”
Walters however, made life unexpectedly difficult early on for the Comets.
Colin Graham cut V-A’s lead to 12-8 at the 5:46 mark of the first quarter when he rumbled in from 17 yards out.
Then, in the second quarter the Blue Devils got to within four points again as quarterback Logan Parli found Bryce Willis for a 29 yard catch and run, making it 18-14 at the 10:48 mark.
But, WHS simply had no answer for Mercer, especially in the first half.
After giving his team a 6-0 lead with a 27 yard touchdown, Mercer then found paydirt from six yards out in the second quarter, before breaking off a 76 yard touchdown run, putting his team up 42-14 going into half-time.
“We need Dallen for these next few games,” Lynn said. “We didn’t want him getting hurt so we we’re glad about being able to make things easy tonight for him.”
In the fourth quarter, Walters managed to get a couple of quick scores, less than a minute apart.
First it was Willis running in from 27 yards out for the touchdown at 6:06, before Graham collected a turnover on the ensuing Comets drive and returned it 30 yards for the touchdown with 5:17 left in regulation.
Lynn also collected two touchdowns in the first half, with a 15 yard catch and run from quarterback Andrew McGuire, in addition to a 55 yard touchdown run.
Kelton Brown found the endzone from 20 yards out in the first quarter as well.
Evan Albertson finished the scoring for the Comets in the fourth with a four yard touchdown run.
V-A improves to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in district play. Walters falls to 0-7, 0-4.
Thursday night will see the Comets on the road for a pivotal district game against the Rush Springs Redskins. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. from Lewis Field.