'They're going to be out for blood': M-S football defeats Charleston, prepares for battle against Mascoutah

MAHOMET — All it took was a little crease, and Jordan Veldman was gone. Veldman returned the opening kickoff 85 yards to the house, helping Mahomet-Seymour jump out to an early lead en route to a 49-20 triumph over Charleston in the football home opener on Friday night.

Veldman had a career day, racking up 328 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. He rushed 14 times for 139 yards and added 101 kickoff return yards.

"Jordan ran so hard," M-S head coach Keith Pogue said. "He did a nice job. His ball security was pretty good, we struggled with that tonight. He did have a fumble, we need to work on that, but it's a tribute to the guys up front, and Jordan is a great player."

Veldman didn't just do his damage on the ground. He led M-S with four receptions for 88 yards.

"He's got great hands," Pogue said. "He creates problems for people with his athleticism. If you try to match up a linebacker on him — which Charleston did — we're going to take advantage because of his outstanding athleticism and ball skills."

Fumbles will keep Pogue up at night, as the Bulldogs lost four of them in the first half, which allowed Charleston to stay close.

Dylan Gates rumbled for a 19-yard touchdown to give M-S a 16-0 lead with 8:14 left in the first quarter, and the Bulldogs defense was flying all over the field, but Veldman fumbled to end a promising drive in the middle of the first quarter.

On the following possession, Bulldogs sophomore running back Clay Hubble had the ball literally ripped away from him by the Charleston defense.

Charleston returned the fumble 53 yards to the 14-yard line, and Charleston tailback Brayden Doyle finished off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown with just one second left in the first quarter.

Cole Barnhart's 1-yard plunge gave M-S a 22-6 lead with 1:11 left in the first half, but Charleston responded with an 87-yard kickoff return by Keagan Brady with under a minute left in the half.

"I was teasing Coach (Brett) Roberts that his defense had to quit giving up points because he'd given up none up until that point," Pogue added with a chuckle.

After an error-filled first half, the Bulldogs (1-1) came out in the second half looking much crisper. Hubble continued his standout play, as he made the Charleston defense look silly with a 33-yard run down to the goal line.

Hubble finished with 10 carries for 93 yards, and his 2-yard touchdown scamper gave M-S a 29-14 lead late in the third quarter.

"If Clay could hold onto the football, he's going to be dangerous," Pogue said. "He's driving me nuts, but yeah, he's a great player."

Senior safety Connor Thomason broke the game open when he picked off Charleston quarterback Dalton Haworth and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown.

Veldman followed that up with a 52-yard touchdown scamper and the rout was on. Gage Granadino got in on the fun with a 3-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

The M-S defense really stepped up after getting stomped by Washington in Week 1. The Bulldogs held Charleston to just 86 yards of total offense.

Sophomore defensive end Zach Travis was a monster as he tallied four sacks. Dallas Carnell had nine tackles and Hunter Berg added seven stops.

"I liked our intensity, defensively," Pogue said. "I wish we were a little deeper because we are relying on a lot of guys to play both ways, but I thought our physicality was good."

M-S will travel to Mascoutah tonight for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Mascoutah will look for revenge after the Bulldogs nipped them 22-21 last year in a barnburner.

"We have a lot to clean up," Pogue said. "Charleston played hard, did some nice things, but we've got to finish drives and we've got to take advantage of the things that we're given.

"Mascoutah won big (over Mattoon in Week 2), and they're going to be out for blood because we stole one from them last year."

Categories (3):Prep Sports, Football, Sports

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