SUNBURY — The Mount Vernon football team came into Friday’s game against Big Walnut riding a two-game winning streak and with confidence soaring. But the Yellow Jackets were their own worst enemy, as the Golden Eagles took three interceptions back for touchdowns in a 28-0 win.
“There’s no question that anytime you lose a game its disappointing, but we came in thinking we could win this game,” said Mount Vernon coach Gary Keller. “Our attitude was good and we did our best to win the football game, but we committed too many turnovers.
“Field conditions were hard, not like playing on turf,” said Keller. “The ball was slippery, and we had a hard time trying to pass effectively. They just did a little better than we did. We played a good team, but made too many turnovers. They play good defense.”
Mount Vernon (3-6, 2-3) had four interceptions in all, and quarterback Shawn Maxwell was just 3-of-10 for 17 yards in the game. The running game also had trouble getting established, making 33 rushes for 66 yards. The Jackets had seven first downs to 17 for Big Walnut (6-3, 4-2), which totaled 306 total yards on 182 rushing yards and 124 passing yards.
The Golden Eagles made short work of Mount Vernon for their first touchdown, reaching the Jacket 11 before Buddy Carrel took the ball the rest of the way for a 7-0 lead with 9:30 left in the quarter. Mount Vernon’s offensive troubles left Big Walnut with good field position for most of the first half, but the Golden Eagles’ penalty problems (11 for 80 yards) and a relentless Jacket pass rush kept them from scoring again the period.
In the second quarter, Mount Vernon was pinned in its own territory when Jon Norman picked off a Maxwell pass and ran 36 yards for a 14-0 lead at the 8:46 mark. The rest of the half was filled with penalties and turnovers for both teams. Ethan Grant made the play of the half for the Jackets by picking of a Johnny Cannell pass in the end zone to prevent a Big Walnut touchdown.
Mount Vernon got the opening kick of the second half, but with 10:19 to play in the third quarter Cole Hobart grabbed an errant throw by Maxwell for an 18-yard interception return and a 21-0 Golden Eagle lead. The Jackets had the ball near midfield later in the period, but Seth Dunn intercepted another pass from Maxwell to take it 42 yards for the game’s final score.
Jordan Williamson ran 11 times for 47 yards for Mount Vernon, and Leevi Stump gained 39 yards on nine carries. Ethan Abell had a 16-yard catch, and Williamson had one for 2 yards. Cannell was 8-of-20 for 124 yards for Big Walnut, and Carrel had 19 carries for 129 yards.
Despite the loss, Keller thinks the program may have turned a corner.
“The things we talk about to the kids we’re starting to see,” said Keller. “They’re happy because they’re playing good football, and we’re in each and every game. We have to do the little things, like have a good solid weight program in the offseason, to make a push for the future.”
Mount Vernon will conclude the season at home, hosting New Albany on Friday at 7 p.m.
SPARTA — Highland scored nearly at will in its Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game against winless Ridgedale on Friday, chalking up 463 yards, all on the ground, in a 65-0 victory.
The Scots (7-2, 7-1) got 202 yards and four touchdowns from Justin Staton, and three touchdowns from Matt Young. Will Green came off the bench to score twice in the second half. The running game was so effective, even on a muddy field, that it had nearly the same totals in the first half (24-for-232) as it did in the second (24-231). Defense, too, played a huge part, holding the Rockets (0-9, 0-8) to 20 yards rushing on 33 carries while sacking the quarterback five times and making seven tackles for loss.
Staton had his first touchdown with 10:59 to play in the first quarter on a 10-yards run, which made it 7-0. Just over three minutes later, Staton took the ball from his own 24 yard line and ran the length of the field for a 76-yard touchdown to put Highland up 14-0.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter, when at the 11:08 mark Matt Young ran in from 16 yards out to put the Scots up, 21-0. Staton finished the next Highland drive with a 20-yard TD run with 5:31 left in the half. Ridgedale had a drive going deep into Scot territory later in the quarter, but Young put the topper on a good half for Highland with an 88-yard interception return to close the half with the Scots up, 33-0.
The third quarter was much like the second, with three Highland touchdowns. Young scored again at the 10:32 mark on a 44-yard run, and Staton closed out his night with a 9-yard TD run with 5:29 to play. With the lead 46-0, the Scots put in substitutes, and they scored three touchdowns. Green had a 12-yard scoring run with 2:41 left in the third, and finished the game with a 7-yard touchdown run with 8:14 to play in the game. Hayden Maley broke off a 61-yard run to set up his 6-yard touchdown run at the 10:11 of the fourth.
Highland completes the regular season Friday at Mount Gilead.