Matthew Lickona 12:01 p.m., May 24
Game of the Week: Hoover at Mission Bay
Mission Bay quarterback Dillon Baxter applies the stiff arm to a Hoover defender
Buccaneers roll Cardinals for homecoming win
After ruining homecomings the past two weeks, Mission Bay did not want to have theirs ruined by Hoover on Friday afternoon. The eighth-ranked Buccaneers overcame a slow start to beat the Cardinals 48-14.
“We’ve been looking forward to this,” said Mission Bay quarterback Dillon Baxter. “This is our homecoming – for our seniors this is our last one. Everybody has been hyped up the whole week.”
Baxter ran for a whopping 314 yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries. The homecoming king threw for two more touchdowns for Mission Bay (7-0, 2-0 Western).
“This whole week we’ve been practicing very hard and we came out and executed all of our plays,” Baxter said.
Each team scored on their first two possessions of the game in a very even first half. Hoover quarterback Cheng Moua found receiver Byrese Taylor for a 25-yard touchdown to put the Cardinals ahead 14-13 midway through the second quarter, and a Baxter touchdown gave Mission Bay a 20-14 lead at the half.
“We’re a second and third quarter team,” said Mission Bay head coach Willie Matson. “We come out slow every dang game.”
After the homecoming festivities at halftime, the Buccaneers provided the fireworks in third quarter. Mission Bay scored three touchdowns in the third – including two less than a second apart – to take control of the game. Baxter added a 36-yard run in the fourth quarter to put an exclamation point on the victory and give Hoover (4-3, 0-2) their second straight loss to open league play.
As Mission Bay alumni came back to Pacific Beach for Friday’s game, those that graduated in the past decade have one thing in common – they have all had the chance to watch an elite running back. And Baxter may be the best of those running backs, which includes JaJa Riley (2001 graduate) and Arian Foster (currently at Tennessee).
“He’s so much more explosive,” Matson said of Baxter. “Those guys are great running backs and Dillon is like a hybrid – he’s a running back slash wide receiver slash quarterback – and very elusive.”
As for the tradition of Buccaneers running backs, Matson said it is not by design.
“We’re going through a cycle. We’re the high school version of USC’s ‘Tailback U.,’” Matson said. “And I hope there’s another one after Dillon.”
Mission Bay will look to stay undefeated next Friday when they play La Jolla (3-4, 1-1). Hoover will try to get their first league win when they host University City (0-7, 0-2).