MT. VERNON – Mt. Vernon celebrated a return to the gridiron for the first time in three weeks due to COVID-19 related issues with a 56-8 win over Washington on Friday.
An undermanned Mt. Vernon (5-2, 3-1) squad that dressed less than 20 players for the game was able to dominate Washington (3-6, 1-4) in the first Pocket Athletic Conference meeting between the former Big 8 Conference rivals.
Washington coach Joe Morris credited the Wildcats and their ability to persevere through difficult times.
“That is an excellent display of finding an upside to adversity and fighting through it,” said Morris. “Mt. Vernon hadn’t played in two weeks, they’ve been dealing with Covid, they had 18 kids on the sidelines, and they came to play.”
Freshman quarterback Ryan Kelley threw four first half touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Wildcats, who took advantage of good field position throughout the first half as Mt. Vernon led 35-8 at the half. Four of the five Mt. Vernon scoring drives before intermission began in Hatchet territory, while WHS only crossed midfield once in the opening two quarters.
That drive did, however, result in the Hatchets’ lone touchdown of the game when quarterback Trey Reed completed a 46-yard pass to Jacob Carrico for a touchdown with less than a minute left in the second quarter. Reed completed a pass to Reece Durnil for two points to cut the Mt. Vernon lead to 28-8.
But a long Mt. Vernon kickoff return set up Kelley’s final touchdown pass of the half just seconds later.
Kelley threw another touchdown pass in the second half and finished with 217 yards through the air on 11-18 passing. Kelley also ran for 123 yards on 15 carries as the Wildcats rolled up 451 yards of total offense with their no huddle attack. Running back River Snodgrass added two second half touchdown runs and finished with 98 yards on 11 carries.
Washington was held to 183 yards of total offense, including 89 yards passing from Reed, who completed seven of his 17 attempts. Carrico hauled in three passes for 59 yards, while Durnil and Seth Holstclaw each caught two passes for 25 and five yards each respectively. Washington gained 94 yards on the ground on 26 attempts, with Jayce Perkins leading the Hatchet ground attack with 66 yards on 14 attempts.
Washington will face Pike Central on Friday in the first round of Sectional 30. The Hatchets will take a two-game losing streak into the sectional after having a two-game winning streak with wins over Pike Central and Princeton in September.
“The truth is we haven’t been on point since Princeton (a 34-27 win on Sept. 25). The truth is, that nine weeks is over, the regular season is over,” said Morris. “Now it’s a one and done. What that comes down is, you’ve got to want it.”