By Derrick Mahone
Just before Drew coach Jarrett Laws wrapped up his postgame talk Thursday night at Southern Crescent Stadium, he instructed his players to inhale.
He told them to hold, then exhale.
"You see, this is what victory feels like," Laws said.
For the Titans, it was the second time in many weeks that they have been able to walk off a field victorious. Thursday's 24-14 homecoming win over Eagle's Landing was the Titans first home win and give them a two-game winning streak for the first time in school history.
"This is great," Drew quarterback Barry Mayes said.
"From a personal standpoint, this is a nice learning tool," Laws said. "Regardless we are still the underdog no matter who we play. Nobody respects the bady in the crib."
The Titans will try to extend their win streak to three games when they travel to Jackson next week. Despite its 2-5 overall record, the Titans are 2-3 in Region 3-AAA and still alive in the playoff hunt.
"From Day One, I've believed that we could have a good season," Mayes said. "We want to make the playoffs in our first year of playing varsity. We are on a winning streak and we want to keep it going. We just have to believe."
Mayes was the big playmaker for the Titans, who are in their first season of playing on the varsity level. Drew has no seniors on the squad.
Against Eagle's Landing, Mayes scored three running touchdowns. He had touchdown runs of 1, 2 and 30 yards while Pedro Gomez booted a 35-yard field goal with 10:01 remaining in the contest to close out the scoring.
Mayes completed 5 of 18 passes for 91 yards, all coming in the first half.
The Titans played without five starters, who were being disciplined for breaking team rules.
"We are still too inconsistent," Laws said. "It was big winning with five players out."
Drew jumped to a 7-0 lead when Mayes capped a two-play, 58-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run with 10:45 remaining. The play on the drive was a 57-yard pass play from Mayes to Devon Miller on the first play of the game.
After punting on its first two possessions, Eagle's Landing finally got on the scoreboard when Tyler Teknipp connected with Aldarien Bryant for a 23-yard pass play, but trailed 7-6 when the extra-point hit the cross bar.
The Titans would extend their lead to 14-6 going into the intermission when Mayes scored on a 2-yard run. The junior quarterback's final touchdown came on a 30-yard run for a 21-6 lead with 4:47 remaining in the third quarter.
Mayes' final touchdown run was setup by an interception from Dreqwan Hopkins.
On the game, Eagle's Landing had two fumbles and two interceptions. However, they still remained in the game with two late fourth quarter scores.
Down 24-6, the Golden Eagles scored on a safety when a bad snap went out of the back of the end zone a punt attempt by Drew. After receiving the free kick, Eagle's Landing scored on a 20-yard pass play from Teknipp to Josh Dixon with 2:20 remaining.
Drew recovered the onside kick and was able to run out the clock for the win.
"Winning two straight games is a good conversation piece," Laws said. "We can use this as a focal point to lead up to something. We realize that this building process is a marathon and not a sprint."