The Mira Mesa Marauders improved to 5-1 on the season after defeating the Morse Tigers 28-20 at University City Friday night.
Points did not come easy, as both defenses dominated for long stretches of the game.
Morse opened the scoring in the second quarter thanks to Martell Irby stripping quarterback Noah Tumblin which lead to Marques Kelley returning it 29 yards for a touchdown.
Tumblin, a junior, was impressed with the Tigers speed and abilities on defense.
"I want to shout out number six (Irby). He was the best player we played against all year," Tumblin said. "His presence was the reason why that defense is so good. They have a lot of athletes on that team and we haven't faced an athletic team like this all year."
Tumblin responded by marching his team down the field that ended with a five-yard touchdown pass that will surely be a play of the week candidate.
Tumblin broke a few tackles in the backfield, avoiding a sack on fourth down, before finding Albert Lemon in the end zone.
"I don't know, it just happened," Tumblin said with a laugh. "I can't even describe it. It was so fast. Guy breaks off and I see the best hands on our team. I just threw it up to him and he made a great play."
Morse, who dropped to 3-3. retook the lead after Anthony Gonzalez found Timothy Patrick for a 30-yard touchdown pass to go into the half leading 14-8.
After that, it was all Marauders.
Mira Mesa scored the next three touchdowns before giving up a last second score to Morse.
The difference in this game was the quarterback play. Tumblin threw for three touchdown passes, including two for Albert Lemon.
The Mira Mesa defense shut down Irby and company and the offensive line gave Tumblin enough time to be effective.
"We started off slow but at the end of the game we picked it up and came out with a win," senior lineman Joseph Mahi-Leyva said. "We saw a lot of changes on their defense. We just had to execute."
Mira Mesa will visit Point Loma on October 13. Kick-off is at 6:30 p.m.
Morse visits Christian on October 13. Kick-off is at 6:30 p.m.
For more information and highlights on these games and others around the county, make sure to check out KUSI.com. Follow @KUSIPPR on social media for future weekly updates.
PREVIEW: The Marauders of Mira Mesa hope to bounce back this Friday when they host the Morse Tigers at University City High School at 6:30 p.m.
Mira Mesa, after starting the season 4-0, was riding high when they traveled to Steele Canyon last week. The Marauders ended up on the wrong end of a blowout, losing 52-26 along with their undefeated mark.
Morse, after starting 1-2, enter this game on a two-game winning streak after defeating Hoover 48-6 and Brawley 24-14.
Morse will feature a versatile rushing attack and a defense that allows an average 17.8 points per game.
Mira Mesa will counter with a balanced offensive attack that is scoring 35.8 points per game.
The Marauders offense is lead by junior quarterback Noah Tumblin. In order for the Tigers to have a chance at defeating Mira Mesa, the defense must find a way to contain Tumblin.
Per game, Tumblin is averaging 200.6 passing yards 90.6 rushing yards, including 14 total touchdowns, according to maxpreps.com.
The Morse offense features plenty of play-makers. The coaching staff has been successful in making sure they all get their hands on the ball.
It has become common for the Tigers to have as many as four different athletes line up behind center throughout a game.
One of those lining up behind center is senior Martell Irby. While he is not much of a threat to pass, Irby is always a threat to break for a long run. Whether it is lining up at quarterback, running back, punt or kick return, Irby can score anytime he touches the ball.
Mira Mesa will have to load the box to slow down Irby and the rest of the Morse run game.
Morse must keep Tumblin in the pocket and have their defensive backs play exceptional to slow down the Mira Mesa offense.
Kick-off is at 6:30 p.m.
Tune in at 10:30 p.m. to catch all the highlights between Morse and Mira Mesa on the Prep Pigskin Report.