MOUNT VERNON — Heading into Friday night’s game with Mansfield Senior, Mount Vernon head coach Mike Kerr was worried about the quick strike capabilities of the Tygers.
It took all of two touches to prove Kerr had good reason to worry. The Tygers scored the first two times they touched the ball and rolled to a 34-14 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Senior Night at Energy Field.
“When you spot a team 14 points, it’s really hard to battle back from that. And, that’s what we did,” Kerr said. “It hurts that that’s the way it started because, I think after that, we played them tough. But, you spot a team 14 points, especially that good one, it’s really hard to come back from.”
The Tygers’ Cyrus Ellerbe took the opening kickoff 70 yards for a score. Then, after forcing a three-and-out on the Jackets, lightning struck again for Mansfield Senior (8-1 overall, 4-1 Ohio Cardinal Conference).
Mount Vernon (5-4, 2-3) thought things had changed when their punt rolled dead at the Mansfield 7 yard line. But, Angelo Grose showed why he’s heading to Michigan State next year, taking the jet sweep 93 yards, untouched, for the touchdown.
The Jackets offense didn’t help matters much in the first half, as they shot themselves in the foot several times. They started moving the ball on their second drive, but quarterback Trey Davidson’s pass was tipped and then intercepted by the Tygers’ Aveon Grose.
The Tygers took advantage, using seven plays to score a third touchdown. Amajeon Robertson did the damage, scoring from five yards out.
Once again, Mount Vernon started moving the ball. But, three penalties after getting into the red zone forced them into a passing situation. Once again, Mansfield picked off Davidson.
“We had too many self-inflicted wounds. Every time we’d get something going, something bad would happen,” Kerr said. “Our margin for error is slim and tonight that really showed. We made a lot of mistakes tonight.”
After Mansfield put up another score, Mount Vernon finally finished off a drive. Triston Bowens set things up by returning the kickoff to the Mansfield 37. On the ninth running play of the drive, Wyatt Gregory put the Jackets on the scoreboard with a 9-yard run.
Another big play by the Tygers helped set up their next touchdown. Ellerbe caught a 42-yarder, putting the ball at the Jackets’ 9-yard line. Then, Cameron Todd hit Aveon Grose for the score.
Mount Vernon’s final score came on an 8-yard run by Gregory midway through the fourth quarter.
Gregory was the workhorse on the night, carrying the ball 41 times for 238 yards and the two touchdowns. A.J. Keen added 16 yards on six carries, while Ryan Tiell carried the ball two times for eight yards. Davidson completed just 2 of 8 passes for 19 yards. Gavin Moyer (10 yards) and Will Small (9 yards) caught those passes.
Mansfield was led by Terrance Flickinger, who rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries. Angelo Grose had 93 yards rushing on one carry and caught three passes for another 58 yards.
The Jackets will travel to West Holmes next Friday in the season finale. Even though they didn’t win on Senior Night, Kerr wants his team to finish the season on a high note.
“I told the guys, obviously, this is not the way we wanted to send our seniors out. They deserve to be sent out on a high note. We’ll put everything we have into our next game and do everything we can to send the seniors out as winners,” Kerr said.