MOUNT VERNON — Things are finally looking up for the Mount Vernon Militia.
The team outgained the visiting Ohio Bulldogs, 192-146, and held them to only four pass completions. However, the Militia also committed 130 yards in penalties, which cost the team a touchdown and gave the Bulldogs six first downs.
Despite a late drive, Mount Vernon dropped its fourth game of the season, 18-15, at home on Saturday.
“We consistently moved the ball on offense, and we consistently shut them down,” said Mount Vernon head coach Lee Dugas. “We had a busted pass play and they scored. ... We had a touchdown called back (on a penalty). Come on. We scored! Get your head in the game.”
Many of the mistakes were avoidable. A false start here. An early jump there. Three personal fouls were called on blows struck after the play.
A.J. Johnston, back from an injury, struggled at quarterback in the early going. Dugas rotated Johnston and Devin Wears throughout the first half, with poor results — a combined 2-for-12 and an interception. Johnston took all the snaps in the second half and eventually settled down, completing three straight passes in the final quarter.
Johnston gave Mount Vernon its first lead in club history in the second quarter, completing a pass to Matt Davis on a slant, who then broke away from the defense and bolted 63 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion by Curtis Osborne gave the Militia an 8-6 lead.
After giving up the lead before halftime, the Militia had a huge chance handed to them in the early moments of the third quarter. Ohio fumbled the third snap of the half which Mount Vernon recovered at the Ohio 14-yard-line. The Militia scored a touchdown on the next play, bur it was called back on an illegal block. Mount Vernon’s drive stalled, and Neal Eash missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.
Johnston and Davis connected for another memorable play in the fourth. Down 18-8, Johnston heaved a bomb to a streaking Davis, who wrestled the ball away from Bulldog defender Tony Barnes and fell at the Ohio 3-yard-line.
Wears scored on a sweep two plays later to bring Mount Vernon to within three.