MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon High School football team run roughshod over everything Friday — even the victory bell.
The Yellow Jackets had five different players score touchdowns and shut down Watkins Memorial for most of the game as they rolled to a 49-14 victory in the Ohio Capital Conference game at Yellow Jacket Stadium. During the victory celebration after the game, the Jackets knocked the bell off its post while ringing in their second straight win.
“The kids really played hard through the elements tonight,” said Mount Vernon coach Gary Keller. “We took advantage of some opportunities and played really well.”
The 49 points were the most the Jackets have scored since 2003 when they beat Vincent Warren, 64-7. It is the most points they’ve scored in conference play since beating Delaware Hayes, 62-34, on Sept. 28, 2002.
The Jackets (3-5 overall, 2-2 OCC) spread the ball around right off the bat, going 61 yards on their opening drive to score. Four different players had positive yardage, and the Jackets capped off the drive with a 17-yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Shawn Maxwell to senior wideout Robert Kane.
The Jacket defense was rolling along as well, but Watkins (1-7, 0-5) took advantage of a MV mistake to set up its first score. A Jacket fumble on a punt return gave Watkins the ball at the Mount Vernon 20-yard line. The Jacket defense stiffened, allowing just one yard and forcing the Warriors to set up for a field goal. But Watkins faked the kick and Clayton Nixon hit Cory Christman with a 17-yard pass that gave Watkins a first down at the Jacket 2. Bryce Phillips ran it in one play later to knot the game at 7.
Another balanced drive put the Jackets up 14-7 as halftime approached. Tyler Lewis banged it in from 1 yard out. A nice leaping catch from Ethan Abell helped set up the TD.
“We mixed in the pass well and ran the ball well,” Keller said. “We’ve got some good receivers. Robert Kane has developed well and with Ethan Abell, we’ve got quite a pair to throw to.”
The Jackets exploded in the third quarter, scoring 21 points to pull away from the Warriors.
Jordan Williamson scored on a 2-yard run, then Leevi Stump took the ball 79 yards for a score on the Jackets’ next possession. An interception by Ethan Grant helped set up the next score, a 20-yard pass from Shawn Maxwell to Abell.
The Jackets put the game on ice with an 11-yard run by Lewis and a 14-yard jaunt by Williamson in the fourth quarter. The final score was set up by the defense, as Matt Adrian drilled Watkins’ Devonte Marable on a kickoff return, forcing him to cough up the ball, which Alex Lambert recovered at the 21-yard line.
“It feels good to get over the hump. The kids are really starting to believe in themselves,” Keller said. “We’re a better team than you’ve seen. As they start believing in themselves, I think you’ll start seeing more good things.”
Stump finished the night with 122 yards rushing to lead the Jackets. Williamson added 89. Maxwell hit on 8-of-14 passes for 107 yards, including five for 82 yards to Abell.
“Shawn (Maxwell) is getting better each week. He had a big jump in his performance tonight,” said Keller.
The Jacket defense also played well, holding Watkins to just 114 yards of total offense, picking off one pass and forcing a fumble.
“Our defense is pretty tough. It’s a senior-laden group and they play well together. They believe in one another,” Keller said.
Mount Vernon will look for its third straight win Friday when it travels to Sunbury to take on rival Big Walnut.
“Big Walnut’s next. We’ve got to get geared up and ready to play,” Keller said.