NEWARK – Mount Vernon christened Newark’s new turf field with an air show Friday.
Mason Williams threw for 352 yards and five touchdowns in just three quarters as the Yellow Jackets spoiled a festive occasion at White Field by a 48-22 count.
The Wildcats (0-2) rallied to take a 15-14 lead in the second quarter on Chase Richardson’s 1-yard run. But Mount Vernon (2-0) then reeled off 34 consecutive points, 14 in the final 27 seconds of the half, to take command.
“We were missing two captains (Kaleb Jarrett and Vinnie Pancini with injury), but there’s no excuses for how we let it snowball like that,” said Newark coach Mike Kopachy. “We did not expect to be up 15-14 and have that happen.
“Credit to them. They played great offensively, and at halftime they made some defensive adjustments. We still have so much to learn about playing four quarters.”
Sophomore D’ante Woods ran for 120 yards and a touchdown for Newark. Sophomore quarterback Ty Scott had a 23-yard TD run.
But the Wildcats simply couldn’t defend the Yellow Jackets’ no huddle spread offense, with Williams operating mostly with an empty backfield. Mount Vernon used a variety of screen passes and slipped numerous tackles, getting a chunk of yards after the catch. It has 103 points in its two wins.
“This is an unconventional offense,” first-year Yellow Jackets’ coach Justin Todd admitted. “I was always more of a conventional spread, read option guy. But when I took this job, we changed the scheme to meet our talent.
“We have some quick receivers, and our quarterback does a good job getting rid of the ball quickly to them. We’re undersized up front, but scrappy. They don’t need to hold their blocks for five or six seconds.”
Things were actually looking good for the Wildcats in the second quarter. Scott’s touchdown run in the first quarter capped a 62-yard drive, and Richardson’s score with 7:46 left in the half rallied Newark from down 14-3 into the 15-14 lead. But Nate Davis broke tackles and turned a screen pass into a 35-yard TD as Mount Vernon led for good 20-15.
Things unraveled quickly for the Wildcats late in the half. Williams looped a 73-yard pass to Kaden Daniels, setting up his 7-yard TD keeper with just 27 seconds. With only eight seconds in the half, Mount Vernon pounced on a Newark fumble at the 18, and Williams found Cody Valrance for a back-breaking touchdown that suddenly put the Yellow Jackets in command 34-15.
With Woods shouldering most of the load on a 65-yard drive, Newark drove for a 31-yard Jed Quackenbush field goal and a 3-0 lead. But Mount Vernon exploded, getting a 36-yard TD strike from Williams to Davis, followed by a 30-yarder later to Valrance after the Wildcats fumbled.
In the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets’ starters departed after Freddie Hart scooped up a fumble by a receiver and covered the final 2 yards into the end zone. Williams later threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Davis, who had five receptions for 130 yards and three scores. Valrance added four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns, while Daniels caught four passes for 111 yards and also picked off two passes.
“Last week, our secondary played lights out, but tonight, we kind of got exposed,” Kopachy said. “Woods was a bright spot for us, and that was good. We’re a young football team unfortunately, but we should be better than we are. I feel like we’re not making a whole lot of progress.”
Scott completed 9 of 24 passes for 106 yards with two interceptions, and ran 13 times for 37 yards. Woods had three receptions for 31 yards, while sophomore Ashton Gilkey caught two passes for 37 yards.