WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. --- A high-powered passing game once again proved to be Midland Valley's undoing.
Airport quarterback W.T. Murden threw for two touchdowns and 312 yards in a 38-7 victory over the Mustangs on Friday in the Region 5-AAA opener for both teams. The senior picked apart the Midland Valley secondary, completing 18 of 28 passes to six receivers.
The loss looked all too familiar to the Mustangs, whose only other loss of the season came against a powerful North Augusta passing game.
"We couldn't contain it," Midland Valley senior linebacker Cordes Pressley said of Airport's offense. "We made adjustments, but it was too late by then."
After Airport took a 21-7 halftime lead on Murden's 202 passing yards, the Mustangs' secondary remained in a one-safety set. Airport opened the half with a scoring drive in which Murden found leading receiver Josh Salley in the end zone from 31 yards out.
Midland Valley switched the defense later in the quarter and put two safeties back, but the damage was done.
"We really don't have the physical type of players to play man to man," Midland Valley coach Rick Knight said. "And when we couldn't get pressure to the ball, (Murden) picked us apart."
The Mustangs' lone score came when Jeremy Robinson's 48-yard kick return was helped by a 15-yard face mask penalty.
Quarterback Marquette Carr ran in from 17 yards on the next play to put Midland Valley on the board with less than a minute to play in the first half.
Carr completed one pass the rest of the night and was 4 for 14 with one interception.
"We didn't make anything happen on offense," Knight said. "And they were just too strong for us in the passing game."
Last year's meeting between the two schools decided the region champion, and the same was expected for this matchup.
Midland Valley (4-2) and Airport (6-0) entered Friday's play as the only two teams in Region 5-AAA with more than one win.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AIRPORT 38, MIDLAND VALLEY 7
PLAY OF THE GAME: On the first possession of the second half, Airport's Josh Salley played his own version of the tip drill to haul in a W.T. Murden pass over the middle for a 28-7 lead.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Murden, Airport's quarterback and a highly touted recruit, threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
WHY AIRPORT WON: The Eagles took to the air for plenty of big plays that Midland Valley couldn't match.
WHY MIDLAND VALLEY LOST: The Mustangs usually strong defense saw its weakness exposed as the secondary couldn't contain a strong passing attack.
WHAT'S NEXT: Midland Valley vs. Dreher, 7:30 p.m., Friday; Airport vs. Swansea, 7:30, Friday.