Mt’neers are District 6 champs!

By Steve Chapman

Unaffected by the bitter cold Friday night, Mt. Vernon Mt’neers pose for a team pic after successfully beating the favored Cassville Wildcats for the District Championship. (Photo by Steve

Mt. Vernon squad defeats Cassville Wildcats, 34-14, to gain second consecutive title
The Mt. Vernon Mt’neers defeated the Cassville Wildcats on Friday, Nov. 9, 34-14, to become the Class 3, District 6 champions of 2018.
After kicking off to the Wildcats, the Mt’neers pinned them to their end of the field during the opening drive and forced them to punt on downs.
The Mt’neers’ first offensive drive ended with Mt. Vernon quarterback Zach Jones completing an eight-yard touchdown pass to Rafe Darter in the back-left corner of the Wildcats’ end zone, giving the Mt’neers their first touchdown of the evening. An attempt at a two-point conversion was unsuccessful, and the Mt’neers took an early lead, 6-0.
Early in the second quarter, the Wildcats scored their first touchdown of the evening. They followed up with a successful PAT to take the lead, 7-6. Cassville then extended their lead with a second touchdown and PAT to double their score, 14-6.
Several plays later on an arduous drive down the field, Mt’neer senior Will Boswell ran the ball into the end zone for a touchdown with only 35.5 seconds left on the play clock. Boswell ran the ball into the end zone again to gain a two-point conversion, tying up the score at 14-all at the end of the half.
The Wildcats kicked off to the Mt’neers at the start of the first half, only to seize control of the ball after the Mt’neers fumbled at their 21-yard line. Two plays later, however, the Mt’neers regained control of the ball after Justin Maples recovered a fumble by the Wildcats on the Mt’neers’ 15.
The Mt’neers went back on offense and advanced the ball to the Cassville 47, but were eventually forced to punt on downs. However, Maples intercepted the ball at the Wildcats’ 35-yard line and advanced the ball to put the Mt’neers back on offense at Cassville’s 24. Jones then completed a pass to Kelly Vaughn to advance 11 yards to the Cassville 13. Will Boswell capped off the drive when he ran the ball in to make a touchdown for the Mt’neers. An attempt at a two-point conversion was unsuccessful, but the Mt’neers regained the lead, 20-14. Later on offense, the Mt’neers pushed their way down the field. Jones completed a 17-yard pass to Carson Bowman, and then a personal foul was called against the Wildcats, advancing the Mt’neers 15 more yards to the Cassville 22. The Mt’neers continued to advance as Jones handed off the ball to Boswell consistently over the next six plays; Boswell steadily advanced the ball until he took it into the Wildcats’ end zone for another six points. An attempt at a two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the score 26-14.
The Wildcats started another offensive, drive, but on their third down, Mt’neer Cale Miller intercepted the ball and ran it into the Wildcats’ end zone for a pick six, gaining a touchdown for the Mt’neers. Miller then ran the ball in again to gain a two-point conversion, make the score 34-14 with just 40 seconds left in the third quarter. It would also be the final score of the game.
After the game, Mt. Vernon head coach Tom Cox said the coaches made adjustments in playing strategy to help the Mt’neers gain a 20-point lead on the Wildcats.
“Coach Johnston went first,” Cox said. “He talked about a few defensive adjustments that we needed to make, and the guys were all business-like during that. Then I came in and talked about offense, what we were planning to do, (and) how we were going to do it. We knew that we could continue to run the ball, and we would just mix it up a little bit, but our plan in that second half was to take it right to them, and that was exactly what we did.”
Cox also credited the teams’ drive with making the difference in the game.
“I think what sets us apart is the persistence, the ‘never give up,’ that these guys have,” he said. “They get behind, (but) they just keep playing. It’s almost like we don’t know what the score is, and we just play. We make mistakes, but we play like heck to overcome them. That’s what we do, and, that’s what we did tonight.”
As to the team’s reaction to winning their second district championship in a row, Boswell summed up what they were feeling.
“This is what we wanted all along,” he said. “We knew we could do it.”
With 11 victories under their belt this season, the Mt’neers will return to Mt’neer Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, where they will face Springfield Catholic’s Fighting Irish in the state championship quarterfinal. The Mt’neers defeated the team 36-30 on Friday, Oct. 12, in Springfield.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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