The Irvin Mulligan show continued in the opening round of the Class 2A football playoffs Friday night in Seabrook.
The star sophomore tallied four touchdowns as Whale Branch held off Mullins 29-28. The Warriors will play Carvers Bay in Hemingway in the second round on Nov. 25.
Mulligan’s biggest score came with 6:20 to play in the fourth quarter, a 51-yard sprint to the end zone to give Whale Branch a 29-20 lead. Over the last three games, Mulligan has scored 10 touchdowns.
“I just give (the offensive line) props because my touchdowns come from the line,” the soft-spoken Mulligan said after the win.
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“He’s not bad,” head coach Jerry Mulligan said, tongue firmly in cheek, adding, “He’s the total package.”
Mulligan scored on two of the Warriors’ first three possessions from 2 yards and 34 yards as Whale Branch rolled to a 15-0 first-quarter lead.
But the Warriors had to fight until the final play to earn their fifth straight victory.
The Auctioneers trailed 22-14 after three quarters and looked like they might tie it after Riyan Gore connected with Nijohn Bethea for a 49-yard touchdown to make it a two-point game with 7:52 to play. But on the ensuing two-point try, junior defensive back Jordan Reeves deflected Gore’s pass in the end zone and Whale Branch led 22-20. Mulligan’s fourth touchdown came on the Warriors’ next drive.
The purple-and-gold defense stepped up as well. In the final minute of the first half, trailing 15-6, Mullins went for it on fourth-and-goal from the Whale Branch 3. Gore set up to pass but couldn’t find an open receiver and Camrin Miller charged in to take him down for a 16-yard loss.
Mullins had a desperation shot to win on the game’s final play. With 1.9 seconds left, from his own 39, Gore scrambled and was taken down near midfield to end the game,and the Warriors erupted in celebration.