MALDEN -- On paper the game looked like a battle between Malden's unstoppable offense and Dexter's gritty defense. In the end it was the Green Wave's inability to stop the Bearcats offensively that resulted in a 35-6 Dexter win Friday night.
Dexter scored on four of its first five possessions to control the game from the opening kickoff and hand Malden (4-1) its first loss of the season.
Quarterback Josh Stevens connected on 7-of-9 for 135 yards and three touchdowns and Zach Ventura (20 carries for 96 yards) scored three times (two rushing, one receiving) as the Bearcats improved to 4-1 on the season. Drew Satterfield was on the receiving end of two of Stevens' aerial strikes.
"I would probably say that, too, going into the game," Dexter coach Aaron Pixley said of the matchup of Dexter's defense against Malden's offense. "People talk about the defense a lot, but I tell you what, my offense played well tonight, executed very well.
"I was proud of the offense," Pixley continued. "I felt like they executed the game plan pretty darn good."
While Dexter's offense was controlling the game, the 'Cats defense proved more than a match for the Green Wave's vaunted running game and held Malden quarterback Tim Gage to a 0-for-6 night throwing.
Malden's trio of speedy runners -- Trey Porter (16-for-55), Kaleum Reid (15-
for-75) and Ryan Criglar 11-for-22) -- could only muster 149 yards of rushing offense against the 'Cats defense that blanked the Green Wave. They came into the game averaging 337.5 rushing yards per game, collectively.
"You guys saw them tonight," Pixley said of Malden's dangerous ball carriers. "They are scary, scary fast. They got away from us a few times, but all in all, we did a good job against them."
Malden's only score came when Dexter's jayvee offense fumbled the ball, on a play the Dexter coaching staff thought should have been blown dead, and Andy Matthews picked it up and rambled 57 yards late in the fourth quarter.
A bad snap from center on Malden's first possession resulted in Dexter taking its first crack offensively from the Green Wave 26.
A Stevens-to-Satterfield pass for eight yards on third-and-5 from the Malden 21 kept the drive alive, and Ventura punched it in from three yards out for the first points of the game. Malden blocked the extra point attempt for a 6-0 score at the 5:09 mark.
"It was very important that we scored the first time we got the ball," Pixley noted. "For us to stick it in the end zone there was very big for us. It got us going and we played well from there on."
After holding Malden to a three-and-out, a poor punt set Dexter up for an 11-play scoring drive from the Green Wave 37.
Satterfield picked up the score when Stevens found him for a 22-yard pass up the middle with 9:48 remaining in the second quarter. Dexter went for two and Stevens connected with Logan Swindle who was left open on the right side for an easy conversion and 14-0 Dexter lead.
After trading possessions, Dexter held Malden and forced a punt on fourth-
and-20 from the Green Wave 20. Dexter's Bobby Rawson broke free from the left side and blocked the punt. Malden's Nick Perkins recovered the loss ball, but the 'Cats were in business at the Green
Wave 2-yard line and it only took one play for Ventura to push it across for his second TD of the game. Swindle's PAT left the score at 21-0 with 5:35 remaining on the clock.
Dexter picked up right where it left off after Malden's half-time Homecoming festivities, taking the opening kickoff and putting together a four-play, 63-
yard scoring drive.
Ventura notched his third TD of the game when he took a screen pass from Stevens and raced 60-yards for the score. Swindle's PAT made it 28-0 and Dexter had scored on four of its first five possessions of the game.
Malden put together one of two substantial drives it had during the game on its next possession, running 17 plays and recording five of the team's 11 first downs for the game.
The drive started at the Malden 25 and ended at the Dexter 22 when -- facing a fourth-and-12 -- Criglar was tackled by Alex Watkins for a six-yard loss.
"They (Dexter's defense) played extremely well," Pixley added. "They (Malden) had two drives on us that bothered me a little bit, but in the end we stopped them and held them, and other than the fumble there late in the game that they (Malden) picked up, basically our defense had a shutout."
Dexter made it five touchdowns in six possessions after the stop, putting together a 13-play scoring drive that covered 72 yards.
A Stevens pass to Drew Pixley for 18 yards on third-and-14 kept the drive alive and Satterfield got the touchdown when he hauled in a 7-yard pass from Stevens. Swindle's PAT would be Dexter final point of the game as the 'Cats led, 35-0.
"Malden's has a very good football team and I think they can go far," Pixley said. "But we've got to get on to Charleston next week."
It will be Dexter's Homecoming this Friday when the 'Cats host the always dangerous Bluejays. Charleston will be coming into the game at 2-2 following a 14-8 loss to Hayti.