Seven years was a long enough wait.
Drew won its first playoff game in program history, and first in three tries, with an upset 70-34 win over Class AAAAA No. 1 seed Carver Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Titans running back Quarderman Sloan and the defense put an exclamation point on the historic win. Sloan rushed for 294 yards and four touchdowns while the defense scored twice off turnovers in a 27-point fourth quarter.
“Carver is a great team, we felt real confident coming down here, but you never think you’ll come up with that kind of victory against anybody, especially in the playoffs,” Drew coach Dorwyn Lyles said, looking at the scoreboard.
Carver’s offense looked like it might be able to keep pace early, but it fumbled its hopes of an extended postseason run away when it turned the ball over twice in 90-second span during the third quarter.
The first fumble came with wide receiver Gerald Reid fighting to get in the end zone on Carver’s opening drive of the second half. He lost the ball at the goal line trying to wipe away a 24-20 halftime deficit.
It resulted in Drew gaining possession at Carver’s 20-yard line.
“It was huge, they could of came in and went up, that was a very big play in the game,” Lyles said.
Lyles didn’t see who ultimately pried the ball away, but he had a group of defenders there trying to rip it away from Reid.
Sloan extended the Titans lead to 31-20 with a 66-yard touchdown run. He patiently followed his blockers to get through the line of scrimmage then turned on another gear to beat three defenders in a foot race down the field.
It was the start of the end for Carver as it fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give Drew the ball right back at the 13-yard line; and three plays later Khari Richards scored on a reverse.
Richards bounced off five defenders, but still made it across the goal line.
Drew had 550 yards of total offense with 485 yards coming on the ground (48 carries). Quarterback Joseph Newman had a strong showing as well going for 178 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“We are we who are, that’s what we do,” Lyles. “We get after people…it fuels our team.”
The Titans relied on its ground attack to put Carver on an upset alert right out of the gate.
They jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a quick five-play, 46-yard drive on their opening possession. Newman converted a fourth-and-one at Carver’s 19-yard line for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game.
Seven of Newman’s 12 carries in the first half went for 16 yards or more. He found the end zone again early in the second quarter from 5-yards out to push Drew’s lead to 17-7.
Going into halftime, he had 144 yards rushing and Sloan also eclipsed the 100-yard mark before the break thanks to a 52-yard touchdown run with 5:18 to go in the second quarter.
“He’s an exceptional player, he’s done that all year,” Lyles said. “We don’t expect anything less from him.”
Carver quarterback Jawon Pass did his best to keep the game close.
While Pass struggled in the first quarter completing only three of his first 11 passes, he hit Jacolby Cunningham for a 27-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, and also ran for a 56-yard score to make it 24-20.
The throw to Cunningham was a perfectly placed pass inside the pylon, splitting the defensive back and the safety. Cunningham held on to the ball despite getting hit by both defenders.
Pass’ didn’t face the same kind of resistance on his long touchdown run. Drew defenders were confused on a well-executed read-option play. By the time they realized Pass kept the ball, he was already into the secondary, on his way to the end zone.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder quarterback finished with more than 325 yards passing with two touchdowns, and was just shy of 100 yards rushing.
Friday at Memorial Stadium
Drew 10 14 19 27
Carver 7 13 0 14
D – Joseph Newman 19 run (kick good), 10:12
C – Cameron Jessie 33 run (kick good), 5:26
D – Sheldon Swell 28 field goal, 2:28
D – Newman 5 run (kick good), 10:23
C – Jacolby Cunningham 27 pass from Jawon Pass (kick good), 6:49
D – Quarderman Sloan 52 run (kick good), 5:18
C – Pass 56 run (kick failed), 3:59
D – Sloan 66 run (kick good), 6:48
D – Khari Richards 13 run (kick failed), 5:51
D – Cedric Davenport 3 pass from Newman (kick failed), 1:08
C – Ja’Quaze Gaines 13 run (two-point conversion good), 11:50
D – Sloan 11 run (two-point conversion good), 9:23
D – Justin Fantroyal 60 interception (kick good), 7:32
C – Jessie 10 pass from Pass (two-point conversion failed), 5:07
D – Sloan 6 run (two-point conversion failed), 3:27
D – Jallah Neal 35 fumble (two-point conversion failed), 3:05