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Mission Bay gets its ground game going

09/27/2013, 11:12pm PDT
By Craig Malveaux

Bucs back pierces Clairemont for 161 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

Since opening week, Mission Bay coach Willie Matson has imitated a broken record, harping on and on about balance.

“We’ve (been) pass, pass, pass lately,” he said. “(James) Phillips is a returning all-league running back, but the last three weeks, we hadn’t seen it. We hadn’t seen that player from last year.”

Persistence finally awoke a dormant running game.

Stuffed with carries, Phillips ran amok, gashing Clairemont’s defense for 161 yards and six touchdowns en route to a 41-0 victory Friday.

“He never got off the ball,” Matson said. “He wasn’t running the ball hard. Instead, he was tippy-toeing into the hole, so we’ve been in his ear about hitting the hole quickly, running (100 mph) because he’s a big, strong running back with speed.”

So much for balance. Phillips hogged the scoring, reducing the passing game to an afterthought, but it’s a start.

“You have to credit my offensive line tonight,” Phillips said. “They paved the way and opened up lanes for me to run through. I just grabbed the ball and ran.”

Relying on their rushing attack — which amasses 230 yards per game — the Chieftains (2-3) searched for daylight through the trenches and outside but found nothing as Mission Bay (4-0) recorded its third shutout of the season.

“The defense smothered Clairemont,” Matson said.

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