LAS VEGAS -- A four-hour journey across state lines did not produce the desired results for the Flintridge Prep football team Saturday evening.
Hopes for a first victory in the young 2013 campaign proved a mirage, as the Rebels surrendered 29 straight points in falling to the Meadows School of Las Vegas, 36-20, in nonleague play to drop to 0-2.
“We might have to go back to the drawing board because this was disappointing,” Rebels Coach Antonio Harrison said. “We have the talent to play and I thought we were ready.
“We looked ready in warm-ups and practice. We sounded ready on the bus, but obviously the coaches and players weren’t ready for this game.”
The Rebels were down at one juncture, 36-7, before an electric 65-yard touchdown scamper from running back Stefan Smith (16 carries for 195 yards and three touchdowns) brought the Rebels within 36-13 with 8:34 left after a failed two-point attempt.
The score followed a defensive three-and-out, which led to a punt back to Flintridge Prep with 6:19 left in the game.
Flintridge Prep took over at its 15 and scored on a quick strike, six-play drive that culminated in a spectacular 16-yard score from Smith, who appeared tackled at the 10, only to keep his knee up and spin around for the touchdown.
That touchdown brought the visitors within 36-20 with 4:52 remaining.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, their luck ran out as an onside kick attempt was recovered by Meadows at its 32.
Flintridge Prep had three different chances to stop the Mustangs on third-and-one attempts, but couldn’t do so, as Meadows eventually ran out the clock.
Meadows’ lone score of the second half was set up on an odd turnover on downs for the Rebels on a fourth and five at their 22.
The Mustangs punched in a score four plays later on a one-yard dive from Andrew McCall with nine minutes left in the fourth to go up, 36-7.
“There were some mistakes made today and that was one. I can’t explain what happened other that saying we should have known it was fourth down,” Harrison admitted. “If we don’t give up that touchdown, it’s a one-score game.”
In just over a two-minute span, a competitive game broke down as, Meadows scored 15 unanswered points in leading, 29-7, at halftime.
Mustangs junior running back Bryson Bickart (20 carries for 217 yards) was at the center of the offensive flurry as his team took over possession after a Rebels punt at the Meadows’ 24 with 2:32 remaining in the first half and the home team leading, 14-7.
Bickart took the opening handoff 65 yards down the home sideline to the Rebels’ 11 before being pushed out of bounds. On the very next play, junior fullback Nathan Devera scored on an inside handoff.
Bickart then punched in a two-point conversion, after a Rebels’ offsides penalty, to put Meadows up, 22-7, with 1:55 left.
The Rebels’ attempt at a score before the half worked in reverse as Mustangs senior linebacker Austin Neal picked off an errant pass at midfield and chugged all the way down the Rebels’ five with 22 seconds left.
Two plays later, the Mustangs scored again with five seconds remaining on a three-yard pass from quarterback Jacob Gleason to RJ Haskins which, after the point after, gave Meadows a 29-7 halftime advantage.
Flintridge Prep’s lone touchdown of the half came on its second possession, a six-play, 80-yard drive capped on a 12-yard scoring run from Smith. The highlight of the drive, however, was a 34-yard flea flicker pass from quarterback Kyle Law (11 for 14 for 98 yards and two interceptions) to Smith.
The score came at 2:09 in the first quarter and knotted the contest at 7.
Meadows’ two other scores came on a seven-yard delayed draw to Bickart and a 15-yard run from Devera.
The Rebels also had interceptions from Andrew Tsangeos and Riley Jones.