A dominant second half, and a bend-don’t-break defense helped Mt. Juliet to a 45-14 win over McGavock Friday.McGavock moved the ball all game, piling up over 400 yards of offense, but when a play needed to be made, the Mt. Juliet defense stood tall.
Mt. Juliet struck first after a McGavock drive stalled. A third down conversion on a pass from Nolan Chowbay to Jalen Graham for 11 yards, and a 19-yard run by Caleb Hopkins, set the Bears up in the red zone. Three plays later, Hopkins got in from one yard out to make it 7-0.
Mt. Juliet was forced to punt on their next drive, but the punt grazed a McGavock player and was covered by Mt. Juliet. It took Contrez McCathern one play, a 9-yard run, to put Mt. Juliet up 14-0.
McGavock answered with a 13-play drive, helped out by a Mt. Juliet running into the kicker penalty on fourth down. DeAnthony Patrick capped off the drive with a 1-yard plunge to cut the lead to 14-7.
Mt. Juliet went three-and-out, but a Cody Carr interception put them back in business. The drive was all runs by Hopkins and McCathern, finished by McCathern’s 7-yard run. The extra point was good, and Mt. Juliet led 21-7.
It only took McGavock four plays to answer, as a screen pass from Patrick to Chris Claybrooks turned into a 65-yard score, and looked to give the Raiders some momentum going into the break.
However, a facemask on the kickoff gave Mt. Juliet good field position, and it took one play for Chowbay to find Hopkins on a screen, and the speedy back did the rest, 42 yards for the score.
The second half was all Bears. Mt. Juliet showed their strength on the opening drive of the half, going 90 yards in 11 plays, all runs. Austin Chaplin had 39 of those yards on three carries, and Kyle Mahler got the Bears into the end zone with a 9-yard run.
McGavock came up with a long drive of their own, 13 plays, but came up empty when their 4th-and-12 came up short.
Chaplin got the Bears moving again when he pulled in a 35-yard pass from Chowbay. An unsportsmanlike penalty moved the Bears a little deeper into McGavock territory, and three McCathern runs later, the Bears were on the board again, and the game was out of reach at 42-14.
Ryan Jenkins would add a 41-yard field goal later in the fourth to get the final score of 45-14.
McCathern led the Bears on the ground with 112 yards on 13 carries and three scores.
Mt. Juliet will be in action a day early this week as they travel to Portland Thursday for a 7 p.m. game. Rains from Hurricane Issac could be a factor as it looks to make it to the Middle Tennessee area on Thursday.