THANKSGIVING FOOTBALL: Stoddard Bowl MVP follows in his brother’s footsteps

THANKSGIVING FOOTBALL: Stoddard Bowl MVP follows in his brother’s footsteps

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MERIDEN — Maloney junior James Tarver carved up the Platt defense for five touchdowns and 287 yards in Maloney’s 42-6 Stoddard Bowl win on Thanksgiving.

Tarver was basking in the glory with his family in the postgame, taking photo after photo with the MVP trophy.

“My brother got Stoddard Bowl MVP in 2010 and, growing up, I said I had to get that too,” Tarver said.

That brother is Henry Jackson. He was the MVP of the 2010 Stoddard Bowl as a running back and linebacker for Platt. Jackson scored three touchdowns for the Panthers in a 26-7 victory.

Tarver had five in the 2019 edition. The junior shook off a first-quarter fumble at the Platt 3-yard line with first-half rushing TDs of 2, 3 and 46 yards. In the fourth quarter, he ripped off touchdown runs of 37 and 71 yards.

“We had to bring the trophy back to Maloney,” Tarver said. “We were disapointed when they beat us last year, but we worked so hard for this all year, so we are going to celebrate.”

This was the third time in Tarver’s career he scored five touchdowns in a single game.

“I’m going to go back home and celebrate with my family and eat,” Tarver said. 

Tarver performed well behind a big and talented offensive line.

“Overall, I thought the entire offensive line set some big holes for him,” Maloney coach Kevin Frederick said. “James did the rest. He’s got great vision and a tough kid. He shined today.

“He ran the ball really hard,” the coach added. “It’s a credit to him. He works really hard in practice.”

The Spartans (9-1) will now turn their attention to the postseason. They will host neighboring Berlin at Falcon Field on Tuesday night. The Redcoats are 8-2.

“Now it’s just about getting ready for the playoffs,” Tarver said.