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McCathern scores 5 TDs, MJ pulls away late

Kenny Howell

Managing Editor

Contrez McCathern had 204 yards and five touchdowns Friday as Mt. Juliet got a 45-24 win on Homecoming over Cookeville. 

Mt. Juliet, which was also celebrating Senior Night, used a 14-point fourth quarter to pull away from the Cavaliers who had battled back in the game after falling behind 24-6. They tied the game up in the third quarter at 24-24, but the Bears pulled away late. 

After a Bears three-and-out, Cookeville went for the big play right off and connected on a 61 yard pass. The Bears held from there, and the Cavaliers weren’t able to connect on a field goal. 

Mt. Juliet took advantage, going 80 yards in 7 plays. Cookeville only forced one third down on the drive, which Caleb Hopkins converted on a 37-yard run. Austin Chaplin got the 12-yard score to put the Bears up 7-0. 

After stopping Cookeville on 4th-and-1 at their own 29, Mt. Juliet just needed two plays to score again. The first was a 15-yard pass from Nolan Chowbay to Jalen Graham. A personal foul moved it to the seven, and McCathern did the rest. 

The Cavaliers put a long drive together, going 65 yards in 11 plays to get on the board. Cameron Germanis got the score, but the extra point was off target, leaving the score 14-6. 

A 36-yard run by McCathern got the Bears in business again, but a holding call and a sack pushed the Bears back. It didn’t matter, as Ryan Jenkins connected on a 50-yard field goal, his second of 50 or more this season. 

On the second play of the next Cavaliers drive, Cody Carr picked it off and got it to the 12-yard line. Hopkins went seven yards, and McCathern got the final five for another Bear score, making it 24-6. 

Cookeville was able to drive down the field again, mostly on the ground. The only pass on the drive was a 20-yard connection on 4th-and-4 to keep things alive. Alex Sklavenitis cut the lead to 24-13 with a 6-yard run. 

Mt. Juliet fumbled on their first play from scrimmage, and Cookeville was back in business with just a little time left on the second quarter clock at the 6-yard line. The Bears were able to keep them out of the end zone, but a field goal made it 24-16 at the half. 

The Cavaliers took over eight minutes off the clock to start the second half, going 80 yards on 16 plays, including another fourth down conversion. Sklavenitis got another score, and they connected on the 2-point conversion to make it 24-24. 

From that point forward, the Bears controlled the game. Cookeville put together another 16-play drive, but it came up short when Mt. Juliet stopped them at the five-yard line. 

McCathern had touchdown runs in the third and fourth quarter of 10 and four yards, before finally putting the exclamation point on the game with a 95-yard run after the defensive stop. 

Carr led the defense again, as he was in on 18 tackles, 11 of which were solo. He also had the interception, and two big stops for losses on Cookeville’s last drive. 

Mt. Juliet will be away from home their final two games, as they travel to Hendersonville Friday at 7 p.m., and Wilson Central the next Thursday to end the regular season.  

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