By Brandon Cole
The (4-5) Mount Vernon Wildcats were outscored 35-0 at (8-1) Jasper, but are in good position to make a run in the post-season.
There were steady offensive performances and a few big plays, but the Wildcats were not able to get on to the scoreboard. “A shutout is kind of misleading,” said Mount Vernon head football coach Paul Maier. “We moved the ball pretty well and we did pretty well in other facets of the game.”
Cam Maier rushed the ball 22 times for 103 yards. Riley Snodgrass found Jaycob Stewart on a 40-yard connection. The Wildcats did not throw any interceptions or lose any fumbles. The plays were there, but so were the penalties (6-55 yards). Jasper played a relatively clean game with a total of two penalties for 19 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Mount Vernon held Jasper to 137 rushing yards. “Defensively, we played pretty well,” said Maier. “We made silly mistakes. It wasn’t the effort, but the mistakes. These things are easy to rectify.”
Tate Blessinger opened up the scoring on a five-yard run with 7:28 remaining in the opening quarter. The Wildcats allowed one more score before the half. Bea Moore broke through the plane of the end zone with 10:32 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats were down 14-0, but far from out of the contest.
Nolan Ahrens threw his first touchdown of the game with 10:30 remaining in the third quarter. “He’s the best quarterback we have seen all year,” said Maier. “Ahrens is a coaches son. He understands everything in a different way than most players. He did a good job of taking what we gave him.”
Ahrens finished the day 11-14, for 154 yards and two touchdowns. “We need to work on some coverages to advance in the playoffs,” said Maier. “The defensive backs need to be a little more aggressive. We did get better as the game went on.”
Blessinger ran a touchdown in from 30-yards out with 7:36 left in the third quarter. Alles caught another touchdown pass from Ahrens late in the third, to round out the scoring.
Jasper and Vincennes Lincoln ended their season atop the Big Eight Conference at 5-1 with an overall record of 8-1. Mount Vernon finished conference play with a 3-3 record just behind (6-2) Mount Carmel (5-1 conference). Rounding out the conference were (3-6) Boonville (2-4 conference), (3-6) Princeton (1-5 conference) and (0-9) Washington (0-6 conference).
Mount Vernon will travel to Princeton on Friday to open up sectional play. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The Wildcats topped Princeton 48-0 amidst rainy conditions on Oct. 10, but every coach knows the playoffs open up an all-new season.
“You win or you are done,” said Maier. “It’s real simple. Both teams remember what happened. It’s my job to make them remember, we have to treat Princeton like they are the best team we have played all year. If we don’t it could possibly bite us in the rear. “
The Wildcats will look to shake off the tough loss in Jasper and reclaim their winning ways this post season. “Knowing you can do it and having the confidence is the biggest thing in high school football,” said Maier.
If the Wildcats top Princeton, they will play the winner of (4-5) Evansville Memorial and (8-1) Gibson Southern.
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