MOUNT VERNON — In the roller coaster ride that is the football season, some ups are bound to lead to some downs.
Mount Vernon certainly saw one of those downs on Friday, as the team totaled just three first downs en route to a 21-0 defeat to Mansfield Madison at Yellow Jacket Stadium.
Listening to Mount Vernon head coach Anthony Naples talk, one would think the Jackets were lucky the game was as close as it was.
“We didn’t come out to play,” said Naples. “Nothing against (Mansfield Madison). That’s us. ... Defensively, we didn’t tackle a soul tonight. If we tackled somebody right now at the 40-yard line, it’d be the first tackle we’d have all night.”
Mount Vernon (2-1) didn’t tally a single first down in the half. The Rams’ defense held the Jackets’ diverse offense in check, allowing 23 total yards. Junior Greg Briggs, the starting quarterback, and sophomore Greg Dennis completed just one pass each in the half. Meantime, the offensive line failed to open up holes for running back J.D. Orr to exploit.
The second half was more of the same, as Mount Vernon added just 35 more yards.
Mansfield Madison (3-0) struggled offensively as well. The Jackets’ defense held the Rams to just three first downs before quarterback Alexander Smith completed a 33-yard pass to Eric Brown, who was tackled at the 1.
On the next play, Kale Huss carried the ball into the endzone to give Madison a 7-0 lead.
The Jackets collected the first turnover of the game with 8:17 to go in the first quarter. Smith mishandled a carry and Mount Vernon’s Brandon Porter pounced on the bouncing ball at the Madison 40. However, Mount Vernon failed to move the ball and was forced to punt.
In the second half, the Rams seized control on their first series when they drove 62 yards on eight plays, capped off by a Smith 10-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw.
The drive had been extended on a personal foul penalty against Mount Vernon.