PASADENA — It took the Muir High football team just seven offensive plays and three minutes and some change of possession time to make it an early night for Glendale.
The Mustangs scored on lightning-quick drives of three, three and one play, respectively, on their first thee possessions in the first quarter and began the second quarter with a long punt return for a touchdown followed by a blocked punt for a touchdown to open up a 33-point lead that more than held up for a 49-10 Pacific League victory Friday night at Muir.
"We're flat, we came in here flat," said Nitros Coach Alan Eberhart, whose team lost its sixth game in a row to fall to 1-7, 0-4 in league. "We've been playing better, we've been getting up for games and we come in here when a couple of their starters aren't playing, but we just never got going."
Playing without starting quarterback Joshua Muema-Washington and all-purpose standout Kevon Seymour, the Mustangs got off to a fast start, scoring on their first possession on a 29-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mark Samuels to Travonta Herod.
The Nitros responded with their most cohesive drive of the game, using 13 plays to drive 56 yards to the Muir 10-yard line, where they eventually settled for a 27-yard field goal by Martin Marin at the 3:09 mark of the first quarter.
The final three minutes of the first quarter, however, were the beginning of the end for Glendale. Muir (4-3, 2-2) offensive standout Tarien Owens, who rushed for a team-high 94 yards in eight carries, broke off a 51-yard run on the first play of the next possession, setting up Samuels' second touchdown pass of the game, a high fade in the back of the end zone to Lamarr McDaniels for a 14-3 lead.
Glendale got the ball back with 1:44 left in the quarter, but after a quick three-and-out, punted and saw Darick Holmes score on a 52-yard zig-zagging rushing touchdown on the first play of Muir's drive to put the Mustangs up, 21-3, with 16.3 seconds left in the first quarter.
"We got frustrated on offense because we weren't having success all of a sudden," said Eberhart, whose team had averaged 40 points per game in its last two contests. "They are just so much better than us. The speed, we just couldn't react to it."
The hole got deeper for the Nitros early in the second half, as Owens returned a Glendale punt 60 yards for a 28-3 advantage just 1 minute 10 seconds into the second quarter.
Glendale once again punted from deep in its own territory less than two minutes later, but this time never got the kick away, as it was blocked and recovered in the end zone by Charles Clayton.
"We knew we were going to have to play a great defensive game with some of our key guys out," said Mustangs interim Coach Dave Mitchell, whose team limited Glendale to 145 yards of total offense. "We know if they can't score, they can't win. We went in with the purpose of defense dominating the game and they really did a good job."
Glendale's defense began to pick things up late in the second quarter, when it recovered a Muir fumble near midfield. The Nitros drove 32 yards, but ended the possession with a missed 48-yard field goal attempt.
Tony Ramos then scooped up the first of two fumble recoveries he recorded, setting up Glendale at the Muir 32-yard line with 2:28 left in the first half, but Owens intercepted Nitros quarterback Evan Norton on the very next play.
Michael Davis then came up with an interception of Samuels with 34 seconds left, but Norton was then intercepted by Muir's Jamari Gordon to end the half.
Continuing its opportunistic defensive play, Glendale was set up at the Muir 20-yard line by another fumble recovery from Ramos and Norton capped the scoring drive with an eight-yard keeper at the 9:52 mark of the third quarter to pull to within 35-10.
Muir would add to its lead with two more touchdowns, a six-yard run by Samuels with 6:12 left in the third quarter and a four-yard run on a direct snap to Owens with 10:43 left in the game.