Football falls to Maize for first league loss since 2014

Blake Chadwick

Friday night at Maize was an AVCTL I matchup between two elite teams — undefeated Maize played host to one-loss Derby. 

It did not disappoint as Maize came back to beat Derby 36-35 in the final two minutes. It’s Derby’s first AVCTL I loss since 2014, when it lost at Maize.

The game started off slower than both teams had in the past, but after both teams’ first possessions were scoreless, Derby found its offensive spark in sophomore running back Dylan Edwards. 

Edwards gave Derby the early lead, but Maize responded on its ensuing possession as senior running back Josh Sanders shook off the whole Derby D to break the game open for the Eagles. 

After an interception by the Eagle defense, Maize quarterback Avery Johnson threw a quick strike to Justin Stephens to go up 12-7. 

But Derby used three first-half touchdowns from Edwards to take a 21-19 lead at halftime. 

Maize had just been in a similar situation on Oct. 9 when the Eagles trailed Maize South for most of the game.

“Two weeks in a row we had to come back and have a wild finish,” Maize coach Gary Guzman said. 

The game went back and forth as the teams traded touchdowns. Derby quarterback Lem Wash threw a touchdown to wide receiver Drake Thatcher for the 28-19 lead 

But as long as Maize has Sanders on its side, the Eagles won’t be out of the end zone for too long. His ability to cut, evade tacklers, carry tacklers and sprint past defenders makes him unbelievably dangerous.

Sanders’ touchdown got Maize within 28-26 midway through the third quarter. 

Once again Wash found Drake Thatcher for the touchdown for the nine-point lead going into the fourth quarter. 

Thanks to a field goal from Maize kicker Cole Segraves, the game tightened up once again. 

But stop after stop from the two defenses would inevitably lead to a go-ahead one-yard rushing touchdown from Sanders for his fourth touchdown of the night with 2:11 to go.

“Football is a game of schemes, and we came out and outschemed them,” Sanders said. 

Maize sealed the victory with an interception in the final minute as Derby was driving in Eagles territory.