E.A. Sports Today

Too much Meadows

Senior running back goes for 289 yards and 5 touchdowns as Handley hands Munford its first loss

By Tim Altork
Randolph Leader

ROANOKE – The Handley football team gathered along its sideline to hear head coach Larry Strain’s post-game comments after the Tigers’ 38-28 win over Munford. As they settled in, from somewhere off in the stands a voice screamed out exactly what every Handley fan was thinking in that moment.

“Tae Meadows!”

Meadows rushed for 289 yards and five touchdowns Friday night as Handley overcame a rough first half to win its region opener at Wright Field.

Meadows was relentless with the ball in his hands and did not let a lost fumble in the first half slow him down. He scored from 36 yards out on Handley’s first play from scrimmage and never let up.

He added touchdown runs of 38, 37, 9 and 24 yards and each one came at a crucial junction in a game in which the lead changed hands three times in the second half.  Neither team led by more than four points in the last two quarters until Meadows’s final touchdown gave Handley the 10-point cushion that proved to be the margin of victory.

“Their running back took over the game in the second half,” Lions coach Michael Easley said. “They have a really good team but their run game with him was the difference in the game.”

It was close throughout mostly because of the handiwork of Munford quarterback Ja’isiam Tuck. 

Every time Handley did something good on offense, Tuck was ready with the counter punch. The senior completed 15-of-27 passes for 199 yards, three touchdowns and an interception (which came on a desperation heave on his last pass attempt of the night). He also ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

Tuck’s good work had Munford ahead 20-18 at halftime, and his 45-yard touchdown pass to Rashard Russell with four seconds left in third quarter looked like it would give the Lions (2-1) the lead going into the fourth quarter.

But that changed on the ensuing kickoff when Handley’s Maurice Cameron shook off a couple of tackles and raced 84 yards for a touchdown as time expired. Suddenly, Handley had a 30-28 lead and healthy shot of momentum going into the final frame.

Handley’s defense saved its best work for the fourth quarter as it held Tuck and the Lions’ offense to minus-3 net yards and just one first down over three possessions to preserve the Tigers’ lead.

“Our kids played their butts off and fought all game,” Easley said. “Handley just made a few more plays than we did later in the game. You have to tip your cap to them, but I’m proud of our guys.”

Russell finished as Munford’s leading receiver with three catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns.

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