What the Mead football team started two days earlier it finished Saturday.
The Panthers, behind a balanced attack, used a 21-0 start on Thursday and extended it to a 42-14 win over the University Titans at Joe Albi Stadium.
Like Thursday, the Panthers had a rough start Saturday. In the first action when play resumed from the game delayed by lightning, Mead fumbled a punt return.
The Panthers settled themselves nicely, adding a touchdown before the teams traded scores the rest of the way.
Both teams had to come back after using Friday as a day to get over the bruises and soreness acquired on Thursday.
And as much as Mead coach Sean Carty implored his players to turn back on the intensity, it was natural for them to be a little flat initially.
“We knew they were going to adjust to the plays we were doing well on and we were trying to adjust to their possible adjustments,” Carty said. “They did a nice job with the time they had. I felt like we came out a little flat. We were saying all the right things and wanting to be up but it took us a little while to get going.”
What the Panthers discovered, though, is they have about eight capable rushers. And senior quarterback Matt Wetzel is a dual threat.
Mead picked up 300 yards on 43 carries rushing while Wetzel completed 8 of 13 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns.
“We have a lot of options on this team,” Wetzel said. “It’s nice to have that kind of balance. We did real well after that extended intermission.”
Wetzel hit Josh Richter on a 41-yard TD pass to open the scoring Saturday and capped it on series-saving play late.
On third-and-goal at the U-Hi 21-yard line, Wetzel found safety valve Luke Hilmes in the left flat, and Hilmes powered up the sideline and dove into the end zone for the Panthers’ final score.
Hilmes led with 107 yards rushing on eight carries.
“This was a very odd anything for anyone to respond to and especially for a bunch of high school guys,” Carty said of the suspended game. “We were all kind of like ‘what’s this? What are we doing?’ ”
U-Hi played better Saturday than on Thursday. Running back Bryce Williamson finished with 100 yards on 16 attempts and Trevor Martin returned a kickoff 85 yards for a TD.