Lynix Branch hones in on another sack. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)
The Our Lady of Mercy Bobcats did exactly what they needed to in dismantling the Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Mustangs 41-0. Against a program scuffling badly, the Bobcats took control early and got their whole roster action in a lopsided win.
"Mt. Vernon's obviously a program that's trying to build it and they're struggling. I'm just proud of the way we got it done like we needed to do," said OLM coach Mike Earwood. "That's what I told them. If you're truly a program that's arriving then you need to go out and take care of business and give us opportunities to get other kids in the game and that's what they did. We came pretty close to emptying the bench tonight."
On Senior Night at Mercy, the next generation of Bobcats saw plenty of action. With the game in hand after just one quarter, plenty of new faces got their first taste of Friday Night Lights.
"You never forget that first time out there. That's very important for them," Earwood said. "I was so glad that we were able to do that tonight."
Even against a team like Mt. Vernon, it was still another promising performance by a fast improving defense as they allowed just 11 total yards of offense. The Bobcats have allowed more than 20 points just twice all year, once of those against the top ranked team in class A who they still held well below their scoring average. Defensive linemen like Lynix Branch, Darryl Jackson, and Jay Johnson were in the backfield all game. Linebackers Kyle Wilkins and Bryce Griffin flew around the field and made life tough on the Mustangs.
"Our defense has been sharp. It has kept us in some really tight games," said Earwood. "In our region, all those teams play great defense. It's hard to generate the kind of points offensively that you would like, but defense has been the thing down the stretch keeping us in those ballgames."
From the start the Bobcats left no doubt they were going to take care of business. On the game's first snap, Jameson Vest hit Albert Wilson on a wide receiver screen and Wilson nearly took it all the way on a 48 yard catch and run. On the next play, Jordan Thomas burst through the middle for a 15 yard touchdown. With barely more than 30 seconds off the clock, the Bobcats already held a 7-0 lead.
In the first of many defensive stands, the Bobcats forced a three and out thanks in part to a sack by Thomas. The offense picked up where it left off, Vest and Wilson hooking up for 28 yards to race up the field. Vest then hit Keagan Jordan for a six yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Another three and out gave Mercy the ball back just inside midfield and it took even less time to strike again. On the first play of the series, Christian Coleman took a short pass from Vest and no one was going to catch the blazing speedster as he raced for a 48 yard touchdown and a 20-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Mercy pass rush was locked in on the next defensive series. Lynix Branch and Darryl Jackson split one sack and Jay Johnson added another as they forced another three and out. Mercy drove down the field, taking it 42 yards in for plays with Vest scoring from eight yards out for a 27-0 lead.
Mercy's next drive was just as productive as a Vest pass to Jordan Thomas for 15 yards and a 26 yard Vest scramble set up a four yard score by Jervon Kyles. Kyles's touchdown made it 34-0 just 32 seconds into the second quarter.
Kyles then made his mark on defense on the next series. Mt. Vernon threw a crossing route to their big tight end. Kyles stopped him dead and lowered the boom, lifting him up on a perfect form tackle and driving him into the ground.
The Mercy backups started coming into the game in bunches as the team took their foot off the gas. Early in the second half, the Mustangs crossed midfield for the first time, but a sack by DJ Robins killed the drive. Rod Sellers and Charlie Feldner pushed the Bobcats back down the field, but a missed field goal kept the score steady.
In a night of strong defensive play by the Bobcats, it was fitting that their defense made the final strike. Grant Walker intercepted a pass and returned it for a 30 yard touchdown and a 41-0 lead. A Nick Reese interception killed Mt. Vernon's final series. Richard Nguyen piled up some good yardage on the Bobcats' final series in the blowout victory.
In just over a quarter of work, Jameson Vest completed seven of 10 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns, along with 34 yards rushing and another score. Jordan Thomas ran for 54 yards and a score on six carries. Rod Sellers ran for 57 yards on 11 carries. Albert Wilson led the receivers with four catches for 86 yards.
The Bobcats have a big matchup looming this week as the 7-1 Darlington Tigers come to town.