CARY — The workload is different this season for Dorrel McClain, but it’s the right kind as Panther Creek picked up another win Friday with a 38-7 defeat of Cary.
Last season, the senior playmaker was used in three offensive positions, plus he played defense and returned some kicks. Now, McClain is getting all of his touches at running back, and he’s getting a lot of them.
He finished with 28 carries for 166 yards and one touchdown. He also caught three passes out of the backfield for 55 yards at Cary’s Cooper Field.
“We settled it down for one position for me,” McClain said. “We didn’t want to tire me out – and we have a lot of great athletes on this team.”
McClain’s teammates are a big the reason he’s McClain has been able to focus on one position. The Catamounts seemingly have no weaknesses.
After Phillip Stone’s 27-yard field goal put Panther Creek up 3-0, the defense scored next. Dallas Hancock returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown to make it 10-0 with 7 minutes, 23 seconds left before hafltime
Junior quarterback Brendan Magner found Tre Sullivan on a 22-yard touchdown pass as time expired before halftime.
“He has a lot more composure in the pocket now,” McClain said of Magner, who was 11-of-19 for 154 yards with one passing touchdown another on the ground.
Panther Creek (5-1, 2-0), fourth in the News & Observer rankings, led Cary (2-4, 0-2) 17-0 at the break.
McClain scored on a 19-yard run on the Catamounts’ first drive of the third quarter, then linebacker Matt Powell gave the Catamounts a second “pick-six” of the night, this one from 23 yards away, to take a 31-0 lead.
“I don’t even remember half of it – I guess it was the adrenaline – but it was awesome,” Powell said.
Cary didn’t record a first down until 7:39 left in the game.
“We put in a lot of hard work this week. We knew what was coming at us,” Powell said. “We were taught that when we’re reading our guards to come downhill fast. And I guess we were filling our holes good.”
Magner’s 25-yard bootleg touchdown run gave the Catamounts their final score of the night.
The Imps scored on their final drive thanks to a 26-yard run from Trevion Hackney.
Cary was 0-for-10 passing (it connected on a pass play, but it went down as a lateral) and ran the ball 34 times for 94 yards.
Panther Creek was 1-10 last season, losing eight games by 12 points or less. That experience has helped the Catamounts focus despite the early-season success.
“A lot of guys know in their head that we have to come back every Monday focused, no matter what happened the previous Friday,” Powell said.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps