MT. JULIET Although Gallatin won last year’s meeting with Mt. Juliet, the Golden Bears did not allow it to happen again to open the new season.
Here are five things to know after Gallatin’s 26-6 loss at Mt. Juliet on Friday evening:
Masons run wild
Gallatin senior tailback Jordan Mason rushed for 250 yards on 20 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown that came on fourth-and-1 midway through the third quarter.
“We’re pleased with how our offensive line played,” Gallatin head coach Mark Wiliams said. “Our starting center goes down early on in the game, and Taylor Wynn comes in and does a great job – we’re still opening holes. Our running game did well tonight.”
On the other side, Mt. Juliet senior quarterback Mason Earls – a converted wide receiver – rushed for 119 yards on 19 carries, including a pair of one-yard sneaks into the end zone.
Fourth down failures prove costly
Gallatin had two chances to score in the first half, with possession inside Mt. Juliet’s 10-yard line. But on both occasions, the Green Wave failed on fourth down, and the Golden Bears led 10-0 at halftime as a result.
The first one – from the 8-yard line after a false start penalty – resulted in an interception from senior quarterback Wyatt Hayes, who underthrew classmate Marcus DeVault in the end zone. Keaton Mang intercepted the pass for Mt. Juliet, ending the series.
“We just knew that we could not turn the ball over,” Williams said. “But we did, and that makes it tough to beat anybody.”
The second opportunity – in the second quarter – came up short when junior Jalen Porter was stuffed in the backfield on fourth-and-1 from the Golden Bears’ 7-yard line.
The Green Wave were unable to get any sort of passing game going, throwing for just 32 yards in the loss. It took until the third quarter before Gallatin attempted a long pass downfield to try and stretch the Mt. Juliet defense.
Special teams miscues
A muffed punt led to Mt. Juliet’s first touchdown in the second quarter, and a high punt snap in the fourth ended up rolling out of the end zone for a Mt. Juliet safety. Gallatin also missed on its only extra-point attempt of the evening and had a kickoff go out of bounds for a penalty.
Hayes was injured while assisting on a fourth-quarter tackle and did not put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the field. He was on crutches on the sideline as a precaution, and Williams said he was unsure of the severity of his starting quarterback’s injury.
“It’s football,” Williams said. “Sometimes you have things like that happen. Hopefully it’s nothing too bad.”
Junior Collin Minor filled in for the rest of the game, and would start next week at Springfield if Hayes is unable to play.
Reach Chris Brooks at email@example.com or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @CB_SumnerSports, and on Snapchat @cbrooksgne.