Mount Gilead’s home Knox Morrow Athletic Conference contest with Fredericktown was decided by the opening minutes of the first quarter and final moments of the second.
During those two periods of time, MG was outscored 35-0 by their guests in falling by a 57-8 score on Friday.
“The biggest thing is consistency and we’ve got to find confidence in our ability,” said head coach Joe Ulrey after the game. “They have talent, but they don’t know that. That’s something we’ve been working on — installing the mindset and swagger offensively and defensively.”
The game started with Fredericktown driving 72 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead in the opening 3:07 of the game. Mount Gilead’s rebuttal then came to a quick end as, after Colton Clark returned the kick to the Indian 25, the team fumbled the ball away on their first offensive snap. Three plays later and the score was 14-0.
The Indians showed promise on their next drive, getting a quick 40-yard pass from Seth Young to Mason Mollohan to move the ball to the Freddie 38. Young would hit Mollohan again for six yards and then connected with Clark for five to take it to the 27, but the team would get hit with a false start and then pushed back by the Fredericktown defense to be forced to punt.
“We need 11 guys doing their job and too many times we have eight-of-11 or nine-of-11,” said Ulrey. “That kind of killed us tonight.”
The Freddies would take the ball on their own 20 and drove the field in nine plays to take a 21-0 lead on the last play of the opening quarter. However, MG would make some noise to open the second period.
After two incomplete passes, Young connected with Owen Blanton for 21 yards. He then hit Mollohan for 18 to bring it to the Freddie 30. A few plays later, the senior quarterback completed one to Jason Levings to move the ball to the 16, but the drive would stall and then end on a fourth-down interception.
The Indians would immediately force a fumble to get the ball back, though. Given a new lease on life, Young connected with Mollohan for a six-yard score and then went back to him for a successful two-point conversion with 5:06 remaining in the half.
Things broke down for MG after that, though. The Indians tried an onside kick, which they recovered; however, it was ruled they touched the ball before it traveled the required 10 yards, so Fredericktown was given possession on the Indian 49. Seven plays later, they put it in the end zone and led 28-8 with 2:36 remaining in the half.
On MG’s ensuing drive, they got a 15-yard pass from Young to Timmy Brower to move to the Fredericktown 45, but would then have to punt. The Freddies then immediately scored on an 89-yard run.
After an Indian fumble, Fredericktown got the ball on the Indian 36 with 24 seconds remaining in the half. That would be enough time to score again, as they got a short run and then a long pass to cover that distance, making the score 42-8 at the half — a 21-point change in under three minutes.
Ulrey felt the failed onside kick was a huge momentum changer in the game.
“We thought we had it and it got overturned,” he said. “We’re not quite confident enough in ourselves to overcome setbacks like that. I think that was a big turning point. We were only down two scores and if we got that onside kick, it might have been a different story.”
MG got a huge kick return for a touchdown by Brower to open the second half, but a holding penalty overturned it. From there, the Freddies would add two more scores and a two-point conversion to continue pulling away.
Ulrey noted that, while his team will be facing a powerful Highland squad next week, the key for his squad is simply to improve from week to week.
“It goes back to the 11-of-11 idea,” he said. “We’re close and have nine-of-11, but have two guys not doing their job. Highland looks pretty darn good this year. We’ve definitely got a tough one next week, but we have to keep the focus on ourselves and focus on things we can fix and things will take care of themselves.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS