Mt’neers corral Mustangs, 31-7

Jarrett Zerby catches a pass from Gavin Johnston to give the Mt’neers a fi rst down and keep their
offense alive. (Photo by Steve Chapman)

Mt. Vernon starts season on high note, looks to Monett game Thursday
The Mt. Vernon Mt’neers scored a resounding victory over the McDonald County Mustangs in the first game of the 2022 football season at Mt’neer Stadium on Friday, Aug. 26. The Mt’neers easily defeated the Mustangs, 31-7.
The Mt’neers drew first blood near the end of the first quarter when Gavin Johnston completed a 56-yard-touchdown pass to Clayton Turner, who took the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the evening. Malachi Hennum followed up with a successful PAT to make the score 7-0.
Near the end of first quarter, the Mt’neers went on an offensive drive that took them to the Mustang’s one-yard line at the end of the first quarter. Braden Dodson punched the ball in with a successful touchdown in the first seconds of second quarter. Hennum again followed up with a successful PAT to make the score 14-0. The Mt’neers further extended their lead near the end of the half when Hennum made a 34-yard field goal, but the Mustangs got on the board when they scored their own touchdown and PAT in the final seconds of second quarter, making the score 17-7 at halftime.
Midway through third quarter, the Mt’neers made another offensive drive which took them to the Mustang one-yard line, and again, Dodson carried the ball into the end zone. He scored again about midway through fourth quarter when he made a five-yard plunge for the team’s fourth touchdown of the night. Hennum followed up each touchdown with a successful PAT to make the final score 31-7.
Mt’neer head coach Tom Cox, was understandably very happy with the contest. In response to a media inquiry, he said he was particularly proud of his team's effort.
“I was very pleased with the outcome of the game, but I was even more pleased with the way we played in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams,” he said. “I was super happy for our players and coaches, who have worked so hard in the off season and preseason, and I was happy for our fans, who have been so loyal and supportive.”
Cox also spoke of some of the outstanding offensive plays made by the Mt’neers.
It was great to get off to a good start with the first play of the season completing a 56-yard pass to senior receiver Clayton Turner from sophomore quarterback Gavin Johnston,” he said. “We got a great effort from our offensive line which led to a big night from sophomore running back Braden Dodson and senior running back Alex Watts. Junior Layton Pendleton hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass and sophomore Jarrett Zerby had several big catches.
Cox also had plenty to say about the team’s defense.
“Our defense played with passion and bent, but never broke,” he said. “We had several guys with outstanding games. Layton Pendleton led the way with 10 tackles, Jake Leeper had nine and Caleb Rinker added seven. We had five guys with tackles for loss, Alex Watts caused a fumble and Braden Dodson recovered two fumbles.”
Cox didn’t leave out the special teams; he said they helped bring about the victory by hindering the Mustangs’ attempts to advance.
“Football is a game where field position is so important,” he said. “Our special teams proved that by keeping McDonald County's starting position deep in their own end. Malachi Hennum was a perfect four-for-four on extra points, and he added a 34-yard field goal (and) also had two touchbacks. We only punted one time all night.”
Cox said the team will continue to work on improving their game in preparation for when they meet the Monett Cubs at Cubs Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 1.
“Did we make some mistakes?” he said. “Absolutely, but we overcame them by playing hard, playing aggressive and playing with enthusiasm. It was a very good beginning, but it was just a beginning. We've got to keep improving because our schedule gets increasingly harder. We travel to Monett Thursday night, so that means a short work week to prepare for the Cubs and their new coach and new Flexbone offense.”


Lawrence County Record

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


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