New lights around the Mt. Juliet Christian football field made for a great atmosphere for the Saints home opener against the Cougars of Middle Tennessee Christian School, but it also help show the flaws in the Saints defense as MTCS (3-0) rolled to a 48-17 over the Saints (0-2) Friday night.
Excellent quarterback play by MTCS and less than stellar tackling by the Saints combined to make for a long night for the Saints. Even though MTCS had yet to be scored upon in their first two games, MJCA was able to move the ball on offense between the 30-yard lines. With steady running by Noah Wilson and Ric Van Mali passing to receivers Race McLean, Zach Jones and Andy Pitman, the Saints consistently gained yardage on each possession but failed to turn enough of those possessions into scores.
After a bye-week to “study up” on the Cougars, Head Coach, Jake Roberts, was not at all happy with the results. “We knew their quarterback was really good - but with two weeks to get ready for him, we expected for this to be a much better effort. On offense, we moved the ball OK - we just didn’t finish drives. And obviously, we need to execute better on defense.”
On Friday the Saints travel to non-district opponent Oakdale for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
MJCA MS knocks off Cornersville, 28-20
MJCA Middle School Football traveled to Cornersville Middle School last night and was able to hold off the bulldogs on their last drive to win 28-20.
The Saints fell behind early 8-0 but before the half were able to score on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Alex Pitman to Preston Sloan, bringing the score to 8-6.
MJCA would receive the ball first to start the second half. The Bulldogs kicked deep to Alex Pitman who then returned it for a 75-yard touchdown. That gave MJCA their first lead at 12-8.
MJCA on the ensuing drive would find themselves behind again 14-12. A few drives later Cornersville found the end zone again and the Saints were down 20-12.
The Bulldogs kicked off to the front line and Dawson Perry returns the kick for a 50-yard touchdown and then MJCA tacked on the two point conversion to tie the game 20-20. MJCA then attempted an onside kick and the bulldogs tried to return it but the ball was stripped and the Saints recovered the fumble. MJCA struck quickly when Alex Pitman ran it in for a 30-yard touchdown on the first play and MJCA pulled ahead 28-20 with six minutes to go in the game.
The Saints defense came up strong on the Bulldogs next drive. Cornersville had the ball and drove down to the Saint 20 yard line, with 35 seconds to go in the game. But with the Bulldogs facing a 4th-and-9, Cornersville’s pass attempt failed and the Saints defense held with 26 seconds left. MJCA would then take a knee for the win and run out the clock.
With this win, MJCA brings their season to 4-0. Coach Mike Kittrell said after the game that his team has not faced this type of adversity all season.
“I’m very proud of how our guys stayed strong and continued to fight. To pull out a win in a tough battle like this is huge for our guys and our school. Our defense came up big at the right time when we needed it. They have been pretty resilient all year long.”
The Saints defense coming into this game had only given six points through three games.
MJCA will host Davidson Academy next Thursday, Sept. 12 at Edward Suey Field. Kickoff is 6 p.m.