WETHERSFIELD – As James Tarver slipped through defenders into the end zone early in the fourth quarter, the junior running back turned to the camera and flashed five fingers.
The five fingers signaled the amount of touchdowns Tarver scored in Maloney’s 35-6 win over Wethersfield on a cold Friday night.
“Nah I just had to let the camera know, we came to play today,” Tarver said. “I didn’t expect to come out here and get five, but I can’t be happier.”
The five touchdowns came on 36 rushes and 320 rushing yards.
“I mean that’s pretty impressive,” Maloney coach Kevin Frederick said. “James is a special player. He’s got a great burst, great vision. I’m excited about him and where he can take this team.”
Behind the arm of sophomore quarterback Angel Arce and senior receiver Kam Moreno the Spartans have used the air game to defeat opponents, but this game was all Tarver.
“We take what they give us,” Frederick said. “We thought we had a good advantage up front against them.
“Our stuff was working, so we stayed with it.”
Wethersfield coach Matt McKinnon said that the Spartans noticed they were missing their two starting defensive ends.
“I knew right when they noticed that, they were going to get into that,” McKinnon said.
Tarver scored three touchdowns in the second quarter, highlighted by an 83-yard run.
“He’s very good,” McKinnon said. “We said all week that we have to wrap him up at the line and once he burst through there he made plays. Their offensive lineman, they did the job for them tonight.”
He then added one in the third and and another in the fourth quarter.
“My lineman, they did a terrific job blocking for me,” Tarver said. “I can’t thank them enough.”
The Spartans defense locked down the Eagles passing offense of quarterback Matt Silver and Connor Pace. They held Pace without a catch.
“We have one of the best athletes in the state guarding him, Kam Moreno,” Frederick said. “I know he’s an offensive guy usually, but he’s super athletic, he’s probably a DB at the next level.
“I am super proud of his effort, great week of practice and he’s really stepped up as a leader. I love that kid.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
James Tarver, Maloney: The junior rushed for 320 yards and five touchdowns in the Spartans’ seventh win of the season.
“I got to give a shout out to Kam Moreno, he did a good job defending No. 14 (Pace), not one catch I think. One of the best defensive backs in the state, I’ll say it right here.” – James Tarver on teammate Kam Moreno after he locked down Wethersfield’s top offensive player.