Mineola Wins All Three Phases In 42-24 Victory Against Elysian Fields
MINEOLA -- It wasn't last year's game. That's for sure.
Mineola's defense forced three turnovers on downs, a punt and recorded two interceptions while the offense hummed along en route to a 42-24 win Friday against an Elysian Fields team with similarly big dreams at Meredith Memorial Stadium.
"It's big any time you win," Mineola head coach Joe Drennon said. "But this is obviously a good win for us. I told them, though, that this is not our season. Don't get me wrong, our kids wanted to win this football game. They know we played really bad last year when we played these guys. That's not taking anything away from Elysian Fields. They played good enough to win, but the bottom line is we prepared ourselves a bit better and we executed a bit better on some things."
A 6-3 season-opening loss to Elysian Fields last season started a three-game skid for Mineola. From there, the team reached the Class 3A Division I state championship game before suffering its fourth loss of the year.
Drennon's squad is an early favorite to return to the title game, but it will have to get there with an overhauled front seven.
The newish group got battle tested by a strong Elysian Fields (0-1) offense. Headlined by 6-foot-3 and 217-pound senior running back Kyree Ratliffe, the unit put up 601 yards in the game.
It dwarfed Mineola's more efficient 471 yards.
Mineola (1-0) proved to be the all-around better team though. Elysian Fields, weak in the kicking department, failed to convert any of three two-point conversions and missed its lone extra point kick attempt.
Willie Tinajero converted all six of his extra point attempts in the game.
When Elysian Fields scored its fourth touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter to make the score 28-24, Tinajero was the difference in the game.
"Willie has been consistent for us for three years now," Drennon said. "I'll tell you, you never think much about kickers until you don't have one. We've got a good one."
Mineola answered that Elysian Fields touchdown 54 seconds later with a 61-yard, play-action touchdown pass from Jeremiah Crawford to Frankie Meason.
Linebacker Kourtland Sinches picked off Elysian Fields at the 2-yard line its next time out and returned the ball 29 yards. Mineola punted back and cornerback Noah Sneed ended the following threat with a pass breakup on 4th-and-goal from the 11-yard line with seven minutes left in the game.
Crawford ran for a 78-yard touchdown less than a minute later to close scoring.
"We got off to a slow start in the second half," Sneed said. "They were tearing us up inside and figured out our defense. We would drop back and the underneath would be wide open. We just adjusted after that and played lights out. The first half was great, too."
The first act was closed by a 100-yard interception score from linebacker Dalton Harris. He jumped a pass intended for Elysian Fields' Brevin Manning right at the goal line to give Mineola a 28-12 lead.
Sneed ended Elysian Field's first drive of the game with a swat down on 4th-and-six from the Mineola 46-yard line in a scoreless game.
Crawford led Mineola 40 yards from there. Running back Chantz Perkins fumbled after a five-yard gain to Elysian Fields' 9-yard line, but the ball bounced into the end zone and Sinches, playing receiver, fell on it for the first score of the season.
Elysian Fields got on the board 16 seconds afterward with a 91-yard double pass from quarterback Ryan Storey to receiver Dylan Parker to Sharay Ratliffe Jr.
Perkins redeemed himself with a catch on a screen pass from Crawford for a 33-yard score to cap a four-play, 65-yard drive. But another double pass set Kyree Ratliffe up for a 1-yard run two minutes into the second quarter.
The two teams traded punts before Perkins put Mineola out in front, 21-12, with a 35-yard scoring run.
Crawford led Mineola with 366 total yards, including completing 6 of 12 passed for 186 yards and two throwing scores. Perkins recorded 180 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Storey completed 22 of 39 passes for 239 yards with a touchdown thrown. Kyree Ratliffe rushed for 163 yards on 22 carries.
Mineola will try to avenge a second loss it suffered last season on the road next week at Winnsboro. Elysian Fields simultaneously opens its home slate against Jefferson.
"I think we're satisfied with ourselves for the weekend," Crawford said. "We could be better. I think we will come out and be better. We have a lot of things that we can improve on. We'll get things right."
Mineola 42, Elysian Fields 24
At Meredith Memorial Stadium, Mineola
Elysian Fields 6 6 12 0 -- 24
Mineola 14 14 7 7 -- 42
MIN -- Kourtland Sinches 14 run (Willie Tinajero kick), 4:38
EF -- Sharay Ratliffe Jr. 91 pass from Dylan Parker (run failed), 4:22
MIN -- Chantz Perkins 33 pass from Jeremiah Crawford (Tinajero kick), 2:28
EF -- Kyree Ratliffe 1 run (run failed), 10:09
MIN -- Chantz Perkins 35 run (Tinajero kick), 3:11
MIN -- Dalton Harris 100 interception return (Tinajero kick), :00
EF -- Parker 10 pass from Ryan Storey (pass failed), 6:27
EF -- Kyree Ratliffe 24 run (kick failed), 5:07
MIN -- Frankie Meason 61 pass from Crawford (Tinajero kick), 4:11
MIN -- Crawford 78 run (Tinajero kick), 6:22
First Downs 28 15
Total Yards 601 471
Rushes-Yards 42-227 26-285
Passing Yards 374 186
Comp.-Att.-Int. 24-41-2 6-12-0
Punts-Avg. 1-33.0 3-44.6
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 12-85 10-98
RUSHING--Elysian Fields, Kyree Ratliffe 22-163, Jakobe Owens 13-71, Sharay Ratliffe Jr. 1-11, Ryan Storey 6-(-18). Mineola, Jeremiah Crawford 13-180, Chantz Perkins 12-91, Kourtland Sinches 1-14.
PASSING--Elysian Fields, Ryan Storey 22-39-2--239, Dylan Parker 1-1-0--91, Sharay Ratliffe Jr. 1-1-0--41. Mineola, Jeremiah Crawford 6-12-0--186.
RECEIVING--Elysian Fields, Sharay Ratliffe Jr. 5-133, Parker 11-103, Kris Ephriam 4-77, Brevin Manning 1-43, Owens 1-21, Kyree Ratliffe 1-(-3). Mineola, Frankie Meason 3-97, Perkins 3-89.