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Running back carries Desert Pines past Faith Lutheran — PHOTOS

Greg Burrell only had 10 carries Friday night. The Desert Pines junior made the most of them.

Burrell rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Jaguars to a 49-21 home win over Faith Lutheran.

“I think Greg had a coming-out party,” Desert Pines coach Tico Rodriguez said. “He’s just a phenomenal athlete. He was a basketball player, and now he’s converting to football, and he’s just a freak athlete. And he’s really loving the game, so it’s exciting to see him have success.”

Burrell got things going on the game’s first play from scrimmage, blowing through a huge hole on the right side of the line and streaking down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown run.

“First play they told me, they’re like, ‘Hey G, let’s get in the end zone first play,’” Burrell said. “So I just ditched that. I followed my guys, and they led us to victory.”

Desert Pines (7-1, 3-0 Class 5A Mountain League) was hurt by penalties and had a drive that started at the Faith Lutheran 7 inexplicably end when the officials gave the Crusaders the ball back after the Jaguars had run just three plays.

But like he did on the first play of the first quarter, Burrell found the end zone again on the first play of the second, this time on a 12-yard run that made it 13-0 with 11:52 to go in the first half.

He added a 55-yard scoring run on his first carry of the second half, and closed out the game with a 21-yard TD run with 53 seconds to play.

“I just feel like my O-line did their job,” Burrell said. “They’ve been getting better by the week. None of that’s got nothing to do with me. All my running, I just followed my O-line. I love those guys. All credit’s to them.”

The Jaguars also got huge contributions on special teams from a pair of freshmen.

Massiah Mingo had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that made it 20-3 with 5:39 left in the first half.

Treyshaun Jackson returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 27-3 with 9:15 to go in the third quarter.

“Massiah Mingo and Treyshaun Jackson, those are special, special players,” Rodriguez said. “Every week it seems like they score a touchdown either on special teams or offense or defense. As freshmen, they’ve always contributed something every week.”

Mingo’s kick return came after his own miscue helped Faith Lutheran (6-2, 1-2) get on the board. Mingo muffed a punt, and Faith Lutheran recovered at the Desert Pines 8-yard line. That set up a 23-yard field goal by Caden Chittenden that cut the lead to 13-3. Mingo returned the ensuing kick for a score.

“That’s what great players do,” Rodriguez said. “When they make a mistake, they always find a way to make it back to the team, and he did that. And that’s just the kind of kid he is.”

The win sets up a showdown at Liberty next week for the Mountain League championship.

“It’s going to be a tremendous challenge,” Rodriguez said. “They’re a very good team. Other than Gorman, they’ve been the most dominant. We’re going to work hard this week, and we’re going to go after it.”

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