By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
You can try to ice Jayden Buttram all you want, but it probably won’t make a difference.
Mount Vernon’s senior kicker withstood back-to-back timeouts from Springfield Catholic head coach Steve Hancock before calmly making a 26-yard game-winning field goal with 5.2 seconds remaining, lifting the No. 9-ranked Mountaineers past the Fighting Irish 16-14 at Swisshelm Field on Friday night.
“I don’t think they really fazed me,” said Buttram of the timeouts. “(Coach Tom Cox) puts me through icers all the time in practice. He’ll put me up there to make a 40-yard field goal and if I don’t make it, the team has 50 push-ups. He puts me in that position. I think he’s got confidence in me.”
Buttram’s kick capped off a wacky fourth quarter comeback that saw the Mountaineers rally from a 14-7 deficit with over 3:30 remaining to win it with his kick.
Mount Vernon (2-0) took a 7-0 lead into halftime, thanks to a one-yard touchdown plunge by tailback Sammy Robinson midway through the second period. They were scheduled to receive the second half’s opening kickoff, but that’s when things began to go awry.
A short kick by Catholic’s Sam Crain found the turf instead of Mountaineer hands. The ball bounced away, and Catholic’s Isaiah Whiteley pounced on it in Mount Vernon territory. A few plays later, on fourth-and-goal from the 12, quarterback Tyson Riley fed Lincoln Jones over the middle for a game-tying score.
On Mount Vernon’s next drive, quarterback Ty Boswell’s pass was tipped, and the Irish’ Peyton James snatched it from mid-air. A few plays later, Riley and Jones connected for a second touchdown – this time a 39-yard lob into busted coverage. With 3:40 to play in the third, the Irish suddenly led 14-7.
Catholic (1-1) had a chance for the knockout blow midway through the fourth, but lacked a proper right hook. After a short punt and a nice return, the Irish started a fourth-quarter drive at the Mountaineer 27 yard-line. They didn’t score. Left with a 40-yard field goal attempt that missed, the Irish breathed life back into Mount Vernon.
“We really tried to stay calm and keep them calm when things went bad, but that field goal was gonna be really tough to overcome if that happened,” Cox said. “Our defense kind of rose up a little bit and then we were put some stuff together.”
Mount Vernon got the football back with five minutes to play from its own 20 and went to work. Boswell found Chance Fenton for a 29-yard strike inside Irish territory. Boswell scampered for 10 yards. Sammy Robinson rumbled for 17 more. With 3:24 remaining, Boswell snuck a pass to sophomore Treston Shipman in the back of the endzone, closing the gap to 14-13.
“Once we got that, everybody wanted to go for two,” Cox said. “We had roughly three minutes remaining and two timeouts left. We had been playing good defense at that point, so I thought, even if we didn’t make it, we’d have an opportunity to stop them. And we practice the heck out of that two-minute drill and that field goal at the end of the game, so the guys have confidence in that scenario.”
Instead of go for the tie, the Mountaineers went for the lead. Boswell was flushed from the pocket, and his pass was well defended. Catholic held.
But just as Cox predicted, his team got another chance. Catholic went three-and-out on offense and after a short punt, Mount Vernon began at the Irish 35 yard-line with 1:54 remaining.
Buttram took it from there.
“Excellent victory for us,” Cox said. “I’m just really proud of our guys because they never quit. They had confidence in themselves.”
Mount Vernon 16, Catholic 14
Mount Vernon 0 7 0 9 16
Catholic 0 0 7 7 14
2Q – 7:51 – MVHS – Robinson (1-yd run); Buttram kick
3Q – 7:41 – SCHS – Riley to Jones (12-yd pass); Crain kick
3Q – 3:40 – SCHS – Riley to Jones (39-yd pass); Crain kick
4Q – 3:24 – MVHS – Boswell to Shipman (21-yd pass); 2-pt fail
4Q – :5.2 – MVHS – Buttram (26-yd FG)