Dexter fell behind by 12 early in the game due to an interception return and a botched punt snap that put the Bearcats in a tight spot after one quarter of play.
Coach Aaron Pixley and his Bearcat staff switched gears and went to straight power football and Dexter's offense line would pound upon the D-line for Malden. Running back Alex Becker took advantage of the running lanes supplied by his linemen and ran for four touchdowns on the night.
While Dexter took the win, Pixley was not totally pleased with the victory.
"We had to go to a Power-I formation but at the same time we are a multiple offense and we try to do a lot of different things. We love to run out of the Power-I but certain teams we play will defend that pretty good," said Pixley.
While coach Pixley had some issues with his offensive unit, he was pleased with the effort of his defense.
"Offensively we had too many penalties and that will mess with your offense as far as getting in sync," said Pixley. "Seems like every time we did something good we did something bad and you can't do that to win games and luckily tonight our defense kept us in it."
The night started off well for the Green Wave as defensive back Alonzo Louis intercepted a pass from Bearcat quarterback Josh Stevens and ran untouched down the sideline for a 48-yard interception return. The two-point conversion failed and Malden led 6-0 at the 3:33 of the first quarter.
Dexter shot itself in the foot as a drive stalled inside their own territory and the Bearcats were forced to punt. The long snapper for the Bearcats would hike the football over the punter Justin Foushee and Malden recovered deep in their own territory.
Malden took advantage of great field position and running back Kaleum Reid scored from 3 yards out. The two-point conversion failed. Malden led 12-0 at the end of the first quarter.
With the momentum entirely in the corner of the Green Wave, the Bearcats would strap it up and play smashmouth football. Becker ran straight up the gut on the Malden defense and scored three touchdowns in the second quarter. Becker scored from 3, 4 and 10 yards out and put Dexter up 22-12 going into halftime.
Coach Gary Blaylock of the Green Wave conceded that his team just does not have the horses that Dexter has.
"They tried to throw the ball and spread everyone out but we stopped that," said Blaylock. "But when they went toe-to-toe we just ain't big enough and we are too young."
The second half would be much more of the same as Dexter would show Malden a heavy dose of Becker. With 1:01 left in the third quarter, Becker ran off left tackle for a 3-yard touchdown.
The Bearcats tallied their final score as junior quarterback Josh Stevens hooked up with tight end Josh Davis for a 36-yard touchdown reception on a 4th-and-20 play.
Besides Dexter's switch on offense, the biggest factor of the game was the stingy defense played by the Bearcats. Malden was held to a total of 46 yards on offense. Malden's leading running back Ryan Criglar carried just three times for one yard.
Dexter's defense was led by sophomore linebacker David Hessling who led the club with 10 tackles on the night. Davis, Austin Matthews and Zach Ventura showed the balance of the Bearcat defense as each garnered four tackles.
Blaylock summed up the night for his Malden offense unit.
"We couldn't run or pass and we were dominated on the offensive line," said Blaylock. "We didn't block at the first or second levels and their linebackers ran free all night long."
Becker gained 177 yards on 37 carries and Ventura had a good night running as he used a 47-yard run to rack up 80 yards on 10 carries.
Stevens threw for 67 yards and the touchdown pass to Davis, who caught two passes for 43 yards. Logan Swindle and Foushee each snagged one reception for 14 and 9 yards respectively.
An area of concern for the Dexter coaching staff was the penalties that their squad received. Dexter was penalized 12 times for 106 yards.
"Our offensive line did run block well at times but overall we were sloppy on offense," said Pixley. "We had too many penalties and we had some issues in picking up the blitzes from Malden."
Malden's defense seemed to wilt on the hot night as the bigger offensive line for Dexter swamped the Green Wave D-line.
"Dexter found our weak spots on our offensive and defensive lines," said Blaylock. "Dexter just took it to us."
With all the rushing plays for Dexter, a bright spot emerged for Malden in freshmen linebacker Jonathan Burton who had an eye-opening 16 tackles. Trey Porter and Lewis were next with eight tackles and David Anderson and Reid chipped in with seven tackles on the night.
Dexter (2-2) will take a two-game winning streak into Poplar Bluff next Friday to take on the Mules.
The Bearcats have lost 15 straight to the Mules and have not notched a victory since 1989.
Malden (1-2-1) will travel to Charleston to take on the Bluejays next Friday.