BRADY — Dalton Whisenhunt and the run-heavy Maxwell offense put up impressive numbers on Friday night.
But it was the Wildcats defense that made the plays late in a 48-34 win over Brady in an 8-man matchup.
Maxwell (1-1) held Brady (0-2) to six points in the second half and forced two turnovers over the final two quarters — including a fumble recovery for a touchback — in the rivalry matchup.
“Defensively, we made stops in the second half,” Maxwell coach Ryan Jones said. “We had a lot of guys make plays. We made a couple of adjustments (at the half) of what we were doing up front with our (defensive) ends and I thought that really helped in the second half.”
Brady’s Hunter Lovitt, who rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, fumbled near the goal line at the end of a 14-yard run in the third quarter. Maxwell, which held a six-point lead at the time, recovered the ball in its end zone.
“Hunter was running hard on that and trying to fight for the extra yard and (the ball) just popped out,” Brady coach Andy Seamann said. “Sadly that happens and (tonight) it happened at the inopportune time.”
Maxwell also recovered a fumble with about two and a half minutes left after Brady dropped a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage.
The Wildcats then ran the clock out from there.
Whisenhunt rushed for 201 yards on 26 carries and put the game away with a 15-yard run around right end on a fourth down play with just over a minute left in regulation.
“Dalton is going to get a lot of carries for us and he did (tonight),” Jones said. “He ran hard and the guys up front did well for him. Dalton is a gamechanger and I’m glad (No.) 22 is on our team.”
Maxwell’s ground attack totaled more than 320 yards and six touchdowns. Whisenhunt scored three times, the last coming on a 40 yard scramble in which he reversed field and outran the Brady defense down the right sideline.
“That was just a tough play,” Seamann said. “We had him, wrapped him up and he broke it and cut back. It was tough and not to sound cliche but our kids battled tonight and that’s what I ask from them. Obviously we would prefer to be walking into a locker room with a win but (the players) have no reason to hang their heads.”
The score came one play after Brady’s Logan Simmons scored to tie the game 34-34 just over two minutes into the second half.
Maxwell’s Connor McKeeman then scored on an 18-yard screen from Jack Meyer to give the Wildcats a 14-point lead with 5 minutes, 41 seconds left in regulation.
The three touchdowns over the final two quarters was in contrast to the wild start to the matchup.
The teams combined to rush for 415 yards and nine touchdowns in the first half. There were five explosive runs over the first two quarters including a 56-yard touchdown jaunt by the Eagles’ Logan Simmons in which he broke through the middle cut right to the sidelines and outraced the Maxwell defense to the end zone.
The first half saw the teams combine for two pass completions but a little bit of everything g else happened.
Brady was penalized for an illegal substitution when the ball boy ran out to retrieve a kicking tee while the play was going on. Maxwell’s Taylor Cheek also grabbed. Two-point conversion off the helmet of a Brady player after the Eagles defensive back had tipped the pass.
Brady quarterback Shane Most scored from a yard out — his second touchdown of the first half — to tie the score 28-28 with just under three minutes left in the second quarter.
Maxwell was able to drive down the field and Cheek scored on a 9-yard run with 10 seconds left in the half to give Maxwell a 34-28 lead at the break.
The Eagles rushed for 215 yards in the first half and just over 350 for the game.
“Brady is going to move the ball,” Jones said. “They are good at what they do and its kind of a bend-but-don’t break mentality for us.