Mount Gilead never trailed in claiming their Homecoming contest against Fredericktown on Friday by a 34-6 margin, improving to 3-5, 2-3 in KMAC play in the process.
The Indians struck quickly in the game, receiving the opening kickoff on their 35-yard line after the Freddie kicker booted it out of bounds. The team used a balanced offense to move the ball down the field, only taking eight plays to put it in the end zone when Joel Butterman connected with Nate Rogers for a 26-yard touchdown. Garrett Lamb-Hart added the first of four successful PAT attempts and it was 7-0 roughly four minutes into the game.
During that drive, Mount Gilead took advantage of their depth at quarterback, regularly lining up both Butterman and Rogers, who was last year’s starter at that position in the backfield and snapping the ball to both players. Rogers had the team’s first completion on a short pass to Butterman and also ran the ball a couple times on direct snaps.
“It gives us a little flexibility to have two guys who can play behind center,” said head coach Phil Mauro.
Fredericktown bounced back to duplicate the Indians’ feat, driving 65 yards in 10 plays and getting a 32-yard scoring pass from Terry Fearn to Zach Vogelsang, but missed the extra point to still trail 7-6.
That would be the lone offensive highlight for the visitors, as Mount Gilead’s defense shut them down the rest of the game.
“I thought our defense played well,” said Mauro. “We gave up the one in the first half, but I thought the defense played well. They played well last week. I though we made good adjustments and the defense did a good job.”
Mount Gilead quickly gave themselves breathing room, as they embarked on another scoring drive — this time capped off by a five-yard touchdown run by Brady Mermann.
Leading 14-6, the team gave up a pair of first downs to the Freddies, but were able to stop them just inside MG territory and forced a punt. Taking the ball on their own 13, the team immediately benefited from a 41-yard scramble by Butterman. After a short run by Mermann, the senior quarterback hit Andy Williamson for 13 yards and then, after another Mermann run, connected again with Williamson for 20.
That completion set up Mermann for a seven-yard touchdown that put the Indians up 21-6, which is how it stayed going into the half.
Neither team could get much going for most of the third quarter. However, with 2:05 left in the period, MG took possession on the Fredericktown 23 after a short punt. Three plays later, Rogers put the ball into the end zone on an 11-yard dash.
“In the second half, we were a little sloppy, especially on first down,” said Mauro. “But we didn’t turn the ball over, which was huge.”
Fredericktown would move the ball to the MG 30 on their next drive before eventually turning it over on downs. That would be their last legitimate scoring opportunity in the game, as their final two drives ended in a punt and fumble, respectively.
After forcing and recovering that loose ball, the Indians took over on the Fredericktown 45 and rode the legs of Mermann, who scored on a short dive with time running out to give MG their final six points of the night.
Mermann finished with 97 yards to go with his three scores. Rogers caught one pass for 27 yards and ran for 22, adding a pair of scores. Butterman hit on eight passes for 79 yards in the game.
Mauro, whose team has games with East Knox and Cardington remaining, feels his team has stayed pretty healthy this year, which he feels has been a big part of their increased amount of success.
“We have two big games left,” he said. “We came out healthy, which has been key for us. We’ve been healthy all year long.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS