By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Mount Vernon, Mo. – When the Mount Vernon Mountaineers made their jaunt to the Class 3 state championship game last year, their playoff surge started with a win over Aurora. In the opening round of district play on Friday night, the Mountaineers faced a similar foe.
Mount Vernon’s defense pitched a shutout, bending but not breaking, leading them past Aurora 12-0 in the district opener at Mountaineer Stadium.
“We gave up a lot of yards,” Mount Vernon coach Tom Cox said. “We didn’t feel like they could drive it on us and get it in the end zone, and that proved true tonight. Defensively, I’m really proud of our guys.”
The win meant that the Mountaineers held Aurora off the scoreboard in both games they played this year. The Mountaineers beat Aurora 28-0 back in week 5.
“Defense is the bedrock of our team and has been for a long time,” Cox said. “Our coaches do a great job and our players are really sold on our defense.”
Mount Vernon (9-1) harassed, chased, and pursued Aurora (2-8) quarterback Jay Lee all night, sacking him frequently and hurrying him often.
“We wanted to sack the quarterback and make sure we did our jobs up front,” said sophomore defensive lineman Josh Kerr who had sacks on back-to-back plays Friday. “I was very pleased with our effort. I thought all of our guys up front did a real good job.”
Lee threw for 188 yards on 14-for-29 passing, most of which came under duress.
“Our defensive line really played hard in terms of relentless pursuit,” Cox said. “That kid’s a great player. He did a great job of keeping plays alive and giving them a chance to be successful. I was impressed with his play.”
Kaden Clark caught 10 passes for Aurora, totaling 117 receiving yards. Mount Vernon quarterback Zach Jones completed 8-of-15 passes for 114 yards. Carson Bowman caught 4 passes for 63 yards. But the Mountaineers found their offensive identity in the run game on Friday.
Senior tailback Will Boswell carried the ball 23 times for 129 yards and scored both touchdowns. Jones rushed 9 times for 64 yards.
With its win Friday, Mount Vernon will get a rematch with Reeds Spring, the only team to beat the Mountaineers – a 27-26 final in Mount Vernon on September 14. Reeds Spring will also be looking for revenge, having lost at home in the district playoffs to the Mountaineers each of the last two years.
“We’re ready to go back down there,” Cox said. “It’s been a great rivalry with them over these last several years. We always feel like we get better when we play them. We’re looking forward to it and feel like we can play a lot better than we did the last time we played them.
Mount Vernon 12, Aurora 0
MVHS – 8:42 – Boswell 10-yard run (2-pt fail)
MVHS – 0:45.4 – Boswell 1-yard run (2-pt fail)