MOUNT VERNON — With the exception of a handful of plays, the Mount Vernon football team outplayed, outhustled and outgained visiting Olentangy Orange on Friday.
Problem is, those plays counted.
Orange scored on a punt return and an interception return, while Mount Vernon had a touchdown called back by a penalty, and the Pioneers went on to a 41-26 victory in Ohio Capital Conference game at Yellow Jacket Stadium.
“We had some mistakes that hurt us. If we can eliminate those mistakes, we’ll be in the game. There were probably five or six plays that really separated the game. If we did not have them, it’s a different game,” said Mount Vernon coach Gary Keller.
The first bad play came on the first play of the game. Mount Vernon’s Leevi Stump took the opening kickoff down the left sideline 93 yards for an apparent touchdown. But, a holding penalty took the points off the board for the Jackets (1-3 overall, 0-1 OCC).
The penalty was early in the kick, so Mount Vernon had terrible field position and then went three-and-out, giving Orange (2-2, 1-0) the ball on a short field.
A long pass from Jared Leet to Blake Joe set up a 12-yard touchdown scamper by Brandon Schoen and Orange was up just five minutes into the game.
The second bad play came on Mount Vernon’s ensuing drive. Another three-and-out forced a punt, which Schoen returned 77 yards for the touchdown and Orange led 14-0 with more than five minutes still left in the first quarter.