Taconic takes down Mount Juliet, 28-18
After mistakes derailed the Mount Juliet football team’s season early this fall, the Senators appeared to have righted the ship with consecutive wins. The mistakes reappeared Friday night in a 28-18 loss to Taconic at Wahconah Park. The Senators were victimized by physical and mental mistakes throughout the contest. The mistakes included two interceptions in the red zone, an errant snap that resulted in a safety, a costly fake punt gamble and numerous missed tackles.
“We just didn’t get it done,” said Mount Juliet head coach Greg Scotland. “Too many missed tackles, too many mistakes.”
Trailing 19-18 with 8:22 to play in the fourth quarter, the Senators took over at their own 16. Three run plays had Mount Juliet facing fourth-and-six from the 20 and head coach Greg Scotland opted to call for a fake punt. Clay Richardson took the snap, sprinted right and dove forward for a gain of four, but he was two yards short of the first down and Taconic took over at the Mount Juliet 24. Five plays later, Deshane Johnson turned the corner and sprinted eight yards for the touchdown and the Braves led 25-18 with 5:22 to play.
Despite trailing by just one score, the Senators got pass happy after taking over at their own 30 with 5:16 to play. Freshman quarterback Sam Paul was sacked on first down and fired incomplete on three consecutive passes to give the Braves the ball back at the Mount Juliet 27 with 4:30 to play.
Anthony Whiteley went for five yards on first down and Johnson sprung free for 15, setting up first-and-goal at the Mount Juliet 5. Davon Gollman was stuffed on first down and a holding call moved the Braves back to the 15. The Senators swarmed Johnson in the backfield on second down, but he shook off two tacklers and split two more to get down to Mount Juliet 3. Whitely was stopped at the one on third down and Johnson tacked on an 18-yard field goal to give the Braves a two-score lead, 28-18, with 1:47 to play.
Aided by a roughing the passer penalty on fourth down, the Senators were able to get down to the Taconic 27 before turning the ball over on downs. Mount Juliet went three-and-out on the game’s opening possession, but the Braves turned it over on downs at their own 40 after coming up short on fourth-and-three. After two runs by Aaron Briggs produced four yards, Nick Newton cut through the defense for 19. After Briggs gained a yard on first down, Richardson took a counter around the right side for a 17-yard touchdown. Briggs’ conversion run failed and the Senators led 6-0 with 5:35 to play in first.
Taconic began the ensuing drive at the Mount Juliet 46 and used a 28-yard run by Jake McNeice to setup first-and-goal and the Mount Juliet 4. McNeice would cap the drive by pushing his way in from a yard out on fourth-and-goal. Johnson’s kick was good and the Braves led 7-6 with 10:37 left in the first half. Mount Juliet started at their own 40 and a pair completions from Paul to Newton helped give Mount Julieta first down at the Taconic 21. After Briggs gained a yard on first down, Paul was intercepted by Dave Jones while attempting to throw a middle screen pass.
Two plays later, Johnson took a counter through the left side for a 46-yard gain down to the Mount Juliet 4. Whiteley would finish the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Johnson added the extra point and the Braves led 14-6 with 5:51 left in the half.
“He was a good addition for us in the running game especially with his quickness,” said Scotland. “He gave us another option and it paid dividends.”
Johnson led Taconic with 111 yards on just eight carries. The Braves racked up 215 yards rushing on the night despite having 14 rushes go for no yardage or negative yards. In fact, the Mount Juliet defense spend much of the night in the backfield, but failed to wrap up a number of times that allowed the Braves to turn out a couple of big plays.
“It’s a frustrating thing,” said Scotland. “We had them in position.”
The Senators (3-7) turn their attention to Thanksgiving Day when they visit rival Athol (4-6).
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