After losing 27 seniors, it was certain that Mt. Juliet would go through some growing pains this season.Lucky for the Bears, it didn’t even last a quarter.
After some early mistakes, the Bears rolled, 44-0, over rival Lebanon.
Mt. Juliet had Lebanon stopped on the opening drive, but a roughing the punter penalty kept the Blue Devil drive alive.
It was short lived, as Mt. Juliet didn’t give up a first down. Michael Lewis’ big punt return set the Bears up with good field position, but Nolan Chowbay, making his first start at quarterback, was sacked and fumbled, as the Lebanon defender came unblocked.
Lebanon couldn’t capitalize, and Mt. Juliet got things rolling. Caleb Hopkins got 16 yards, then two plays later went 50 to set the Bears up at the five yard line.
After getting dropped for a loss, and a penalty, Chowbay got to the outside for his, and the Bears’ first score of the season. The 7-0 score held until the end of the first.
Lebanon went three-and-out again, and Mt. Juliet went back to work. It took four runs, capped off by sophomore Kyle Mahler’s 23-yard run, to get the Bears on the board again.
Another Lebanon three-and-out set up a 1-play drive for the Bears, as Contrez McCathern rumbled for a 61-yard score.
Lebanon was able to pick up a first down, but the Bear defense wouldn’t allow anymore. The ball went back to Mt. Juliet and big runs by Ben Cheatham and Jalen Graham set up a 23-yard run Hopkins run for another score, which made it 28-0.
Lebanon went three-and-out once again, and Mt. Juliet only needed one play to get back in the end zone.
Chowbay threw his first touchdown as Hopkins streaked down the field uncovered for a 42-yard score. At the half, it was 35-0 Bears.
The accelerated clock ran the entire second half. Graham got things started with a big kickoff return down to the Lebanon 33-yard line. It appeared Mt. Juliet had found the end zone again on a Chowbay to Hopkins pass, but it was called back on a penalty. Ryan Jenkins took care of it, kicking a 43-yard field goal to put the Bears up 38-0.
After another Lebanon three-and-out, Mt. Juliet got its last score of the night. Big runs by Mahler of 25 and 18 set up Cheatham runs of eight and a touchdown of 14 yards. The extra point was missed, and the Bears led 44-0.
Lebanon finally got across mid field on their last drive, and got it to first-and-goal. However, the Bears kept fighting and preserved the shutout, stopping Lebanon on four straight plays.
Mt. Juliet’s defense was on lockdown the entire game, only allowing 65 total yards and three first downs, one of which came on a Mt. Juliet penalty. The Bears offense racked up 332 rushing yards.
Hopkins led the Bears with 135 total yards, rushing and receiving and two touchdowns.
Mt. Juliet is at home again Friday when they take on McGavock. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.