MOUNT VERNON – The week off may have been just what the doctor ordered for the Mount Vernon football team after suffering a 39-6 defeat at the hands of Ashland on Sept. 4.
The Yellow Jackets got a bye week in Week 3 due to a shortened schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s kind of different, having a week off, right in the middle of September,” Mount Vernon coach Mike Kerr said, “But it was great for us because we were able to get back to some fundamental stuff. We missed out on some stuff, early in the season— the blocking and the tackling. Just the basics, when we were worried about the COVID stuff and we were worried about who was touching who and those types of things.”
The week off gave Mount Vernon extra time to prepare for Wooster in an Ohio Cardinal Conference matchup at Yellow Jackets Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday night. The Generals (3-0, 3-0) are coming off a 38-14 win over West Holmes on Sept. 11 in Wooster.
It’s been an opportunity for the Mount Vernon players to really examine their progress and analyze their mistakes.
“We were able to come back (last week), slow things down and figure out what we needed to fix,” Mount Vernon linebacker Ethan Laslo said. “That week of practice was fantastic and we’re going into this week ready to play.”
The Ashland game started out the way the Jackets (1-1, 1-1) wanted when quarterback Britten Long (22-for-33 passing for 225 yards this season) hit Gavin Moyer on a 45-yard touchdown pass, giving Mount Vernon an early lead.
Kerr is hoping that the rest of the game was filled with lessons to be learned quickly. The Arrows took control of the ball on the ground, putting three rushing touchdowns on the board to go up 21-6 at halftime. Ashland’s offense rolled up 238 rushing yards. They also gained 133 of their total 165 passing yards on three third-quarter touchdown plays.
“A lot of our problems (against Ashland) were self-inflicted wounds,” Kerr said. “We didn’t do some of the little things right. We have to focus on what we have to do. We have to protect the football. We can’t make those mistakes on offense or defense.”
This week against Wooster should prove no easier. The Generals feature senior 6-foot-1 quarterback Owen Roach. Micah McKee is Roach’s No. 1 target. The Generals can also go deep with wide receiver David Nolen. Wooster has several running backs, but the 200-pound Roach will do much of the ball carrying.
“From what we’ve seen, Ashland and Wooster are pretty similar teams,” Laslo said. “We’re probably going to stick with our base defense and try to lock them down with that. We’ll try to focus on just stopping the run, for the most part.”