Airline head coach Bo Meeks had a simple game plan Thursday night when his fifth-ranked Vikings met the Class 3A Mansfield Wolverines – work on fundamentals, get the win, and stay healthy with a tough schedule of District 1-5A opponents on the horizon.
Meeks’ squad did that and then some.
The Vikings first-teamers were on the bench before the first half ended as Airline dominated in every phase of the game, trouncing Mansfield 44-0 to celebrate homecoming at Vikings Stadium.
“I was real pleased with how focused our guys were (Thursday) night,” said Meeks after his team improved to 6-0. “We wanted to go out and take care of business before we hit this stretch of district games that will ultimately determine our season. We were able to do what we wanted to do and come out of here with a lot of confidence headed into that stretch. And, obviously, health will be a factor, so it’s great to come out of here with a healthy team.”
Airline’s offense was efficient, if not flashy. The mammoth offensive line — Texas A&M commit Colton Prater, Alex Villareal, Peyton Wilhite, Lane Williams, Chandler Vascocu, and tight end Cameron Howell — overwhelmed the Wolverines’ defensive line from the first snap, paving the way for 171 yards rushing while not allowing the Vikings quarterbacks to be pressured.
“Those guys up front are incredible,” said Airline running back Shun’Cee Thomas, who had 35 yards on just six carries before resting most of the last three quarters. “Not only are they big, but they handle their assignments so well. It makes it easy for me to just run.”
The Vikings took little time in establishing themselves in this contest. Coby McGee scampered 21 yards for a score just three minutes into the game, then senior quarterback Thomas McKain hit Malik Britt for a 12-yard touchdown pass four minutes later to stretch the lead to 14-0. When senior defensive back Deangelo Pouncey snagged an errant Lakendrick Ross pass and took it back 28 yards to the end zone two plays later, the rout was on.
“We didn’t want to look past anybody, so we were focused coming in here,” said McKain.
The Vikings defense held the Wolverines (0-6) to just 32 yards total offense, including minus-8 yards on the ground.
With Mansfield now in the rearview mirror, Airline begins preparations for a huge District 1-5A showdown next Friday against Haughton. That game will be followed by contests with Evangel, Byrd, and Parkway to end the season.
“We know what we’re facing and how important getting this win is,” said McKain. “Coach told us that if you can’t get excited to play in a game like this one coming up, something is wrong with you. I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting fired up to face Haughton.”
The Wolverines will hit the road next week to take on Green Oaks in a District 1-3A contest.