Timothy Drysdale wasn’t upset in the least bit after he came up one yard short of recording his third interception return for a touchdown Thursday night.
“As long as the offense capitalized off it, I wasn’t worried about it,” he said.
David Clayton caught a long 1-yard fade pass in the back of the end zone for Cade Rhodes’ second touchdown pass of the night on the very next play late in the third quarter, giving Grapevine the momentum that it needed to complete a 56-21 rout of Justin Northwest at Northwest ISD Stadium.
“It all starts up front, those guys putting pressure on the (Justin Northwest quarterback Austin Ahmad), forced him to make a bad throw,” said Drysdale, who had interception returns of 84 yards and 36 yards go for touchdowns in the first half, in addition to the one that he returned to the 1-yard line late in the third quarter. “I just kind of capitalized on it.”
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Drysdale’s first interception was part of a wild swing in which there were four interceptions in a span of five drives in the first half.
Grapevine (3-0) was moving the ball up and down the field with ease Thursday night but the Mustangs needed to settle down after Rhodes threw his second interception in as many drives.
Northwest (1-2) struggled defensively to stop Grapevine’s potent no-huddle attack but generated a much-needed turnover late in the first quarter to keep the Texans even with the visiting Mustangs.
Rhodes was highly efficient in the short passing game on the game’s first drive to set up the first score. He threw for 58 yards on that drive. Roshawn Prear finished it off with a two-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 Grapevine lead.
Rhodes finished 21 of 34 with 234 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns while Prear led the Mustang rushing attack with 142 yards and three touchdowns.
Northwest capitalized on an interception by Cooper McDonald midway through the first quarter to tie the game at 7-all. On the fifth play of the Texans’ second drive, Ahmad threw a fade pass to Jaden McClure, who got one foot inbounds to haul in a 10-yard completion.
Drysdale completed turned the momentum in Grapevine’s favor a short time later after he caught an interception that floated in the air and returned 84 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 Mustangs lead with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
“I’ve never seen that many back-to-back interceptions,” Grapevine coach Mike Alexander said. “It was definitely entertaining. I’m pretty sure the fans got their money’s worth. There’s no doubt about that.”
Drysdale gave credit to teammate Mason Shimkus who reached out with his arm and forced Ahmad to short a pass shorter than intended.
Drysdale’s first interception ignited a 28-0 scoring run for Grapevine. Prear ran for a 68-yard touchdown for a 21-7 lead. Drysdale followed it with his second pick-six. Jack Ertz completed the scoring flurry with a 35-yard pass that he caught in stride from Rhodes.
“I’ve never seen a mic linebacker had three picks in one game, two for touchdowns,” Alexander said of Drysdale. “He grinds every day. He’s coachable. He’s a senior. He’s done all of the little things right this past year to put himself in that position. We’re so proud of Tim.”
Play of the game: Prear avoided two tackles and then cuts across the field to his right where he then outran the Northwest defense for a 68-yard touchdown run and a 21-7 Mustang advantage with 10:47 remaining in the first half.
Offensive player of the game: Prear was a big-play threat every time he touched the ball for Grapevine.
Defensive player of the game: Of course the honor goes to none other than Drysdale. His first of two interception returns jump-started a run of 28 unanswered points in eight minutes for Grapevine. Drysdale now has three interceptions on the season.
Unsung hero of the game: Shimkus had a hand in two of Drysdale’s interceptions, getting his hands of Ahmad both times, forcing two jump balls that Drysdale caught.
What’s next? Grapevine has a bye next week and will return to action Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m. at Creekview. Northwest hosts Sherman, Friday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.