MOUNT GILEAD — Highland used a potent second quarter to build a 32-0 lead and coast to a 40-6 KMAC win Friday night over debuting Mount Gilead.
“We started off well, but were inconsistent in the beginning,” said Scots head coach Matt Jones. “The defense kept us going and we were able to keep it balanced up on offense.”
The Scots (2-1) scored four times, two via runs, in that quarter.
Kadin Johnson connected with Jay Melchiori for 16 yards and Melchiori later returned an interception 61 yards for a score.
Johnson added a 3-yard run and Cody Matthews a 6-yard burst.
This was the Indians first game of the season, missing the first two contests after a positive COVID-19 test.
“You can make all the excuses in the world. But we just got outplayed,” first-year head coach B.J. Trainer said.
“They executed better offensively and defensively. They’ve got a great tradition and they played a great game.”
Johnson threw for 74 yards and added 63 on the ground on 8 carries.
Dane Nauman, a 200-pound freshman, had 65 yards on 10 trips and Matthews added 28 on 7 rushes.
“KJ, our quarterback, did a really nice job tonight with his throws and his reads. Cody had some really nice runs for us,” Jones said.
Mount Gilead (0-1) had some players getting their first taste of varsity action.
“We moved some people around so that kind of changes some things,” Trainer said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ll get back in tomorrow.”
The Indians had two second-half interceptions by linebackers Carson VanHoose and Chuy Rubio.
“We got a couple picks … and for us we said, we just need to see what we got in the second half. We were able to move the ball a little bit and execute some offense and that gives us something to build on for next week,” Trainer said.
VanHoose got the Indians on the board with a 31-yard touchdown jaunt. Sophomore QB Kennon Carter hit on 10-of-17 pass attempts for 54 yards.
Highland outgained MG 273-81 in total yards.
Jones said his squad has gotten used to the rules surrounding the pandemic.
“We started up school this week and we are on a hybrid schedule. We are trying to get back to as normal as we can. It’s still different. But they’ve trained all summer and have had a good work ethic.”
Highland hosts Centerburg and Mount Gilead visits Fredericktown Friday night.