MT. JULIET — As players were dropping off due to humidity-induced cramping in the second half, there was no supply of offense as Mt. Juliet outscored Lebanon 56-23 in a battle of spread offenses Friday night.
The Golden Bears got touchdowns from six different players as they compiled 348 rushing yards and 492 total. The Blue Devils showed marked improvement in their offense and kicking game as they finished with 329 total yards.
Turnovers hampered both teams. But Mt. Juliet never punted.
“We had a lot of guys get involved, which is always good,” Mt. Juliet coach Trey Perry said. “Our youth showed at times. In Week 0, that’s part of the deal. But you try to correct the mental mistakes. If the effort’s there, that’s what you’re really looking for at first.
“The biggest disappointment on offense is putting the ball on the ground. As we continue throughout the season, we’ve got to be better about protecting the football.”
“We moved the ball on them at times and a lot of times we didn’t,” Lebanon coach Sam Harp said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a few times, too. This offense is new to us, but it’s new to Mt. Juliet. They just had more veteran guys than we had. They’re a young team in areas, too. Obviously their program is a lot better than ours at this time, but eventually we’re going to close the gap, but we’re not there yet.
“Jarren Stewart played great early. He extended plays several times when they weren’t there with his feet. But he’s also got to learn when it’s not there he can’t just throw it up in the air for grabs. He’s a good athlete and he’s going to learn from this and hopefully the rest of us will, too.”
Following an exchange of early turnovers, Mt. Juliet got on the board on a 3-yard run by Jahuar Jackson. Jahuar Jackson later took a direct snap 3 yards for a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Lebanon, which had chronic difficulties executing field goals last season, got a 23-yard field goal by Logan White, who later hit 2 of 3 extra points, hitting the left upright on his miss. It was on this series that Stewart kept the drive alive with his feet, taking the pile with him on fourth down. Davis also had a pair of long runs. But Stewart, who ran 12 times for 78 yards and hit 9 of 19 passes for 81 left temporarily with an injury as the drive stalled.
Blue Devil passers also threw four interceptions, two of which were caught by Thomas Harmon.
But aside from a couple of fumble recoveries, the Blue Devils could not get a stop on defense. Nolan Chowbay, who completed 6 of 14 passes for 144 yards, found Austin Simpson for a 16-yard scoring strike.
Stewart returned to run for 46 yards, found Davis for 20 and threw 14 to tight end Kyle Santana for a touchdown. Stewart and Santana hooked up again in the third quarter on a 24-yard scoring strike.
But in between, Mt. Juliet got an 11-yard scoring run from Jackson, his second TD of the night, for a 28-10 halftime lead and a 25-yard scoring strike from Chowbay to Darius Lowery.
Following the second Stewart-Santana scoring connection, Mt. Juliet came back with a 20-yard touchdown run by Kyle Mahler, who led the Bears with 123 yards on eight carries.
The teams began subbing out as the second half progressed. Backup quarterback Joey Hayes scored on a 1-yard sneak on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 49-17 lead.
Joseph Taylor came off the Blue Devil bench to gain 80 yards on seven carries, including a 35-yard score midway through the fourth quarter.
Williams’ 8-yard run capped Mt. Juliet’s scoring.
On a hot and muggy evening, the players got through the first half cleanly before several succumbed to the conditions in the second half. Harp said five Blue Devil offensive starters went out in the second half alone, including running back Taye Davis, who exited after one early carry after gaining 66 yards on 10 carries. It’s an issue which has long plagued Lebanon’s star runner.
“I don’t know what else we can do,” Harp said of Davis. “The kid walks around with a jug of water in his hand all the time. We tried something else tonight that I ordered, that I read about. Obviously, that didn’t work, either.
“The only thing I think that’s going to help him is getting him IV’d at halftime.”
The conditions were so bad, Blue Devils were forced into positions they had not practiced, Harp said.
“It just created a snowball effect,” Harp said. “It looked like we weren’t organized… We were past even our backups on special teams. We had to put bodies in positions they hadn’t been in.”
“This was intense heat, a hot night,” Perry said. “I would brag on our Mon’s Club, our Quarterback Club, they do a good job of getting our pregame meals ready. We try to preach hydration and I know Coach Harp does that, too. A night like that, adrenaline is added in and there’s nothing you can do in preseason to match that part of it, especially when it’s a rivalry.”
Both teams will hit the road next Friday for 7 p.m. kickoffs, Lebanon at Franklin County and Mt. Juliet at Antioch.
Mt. Juliet 56, Lebanon 23
Lebanon 0 10 7 6-23
Mt. Juliet 14 14 14 14-56
Mt. Juliet—Jahuar Jackson 3 run [Hayes Foster kick], 9:09.
Mt. Juliet— Darius Lowery 3 run [Foster kick], 4:20.
Lebanon—Logan White 23 FG, 6:32.
Mt. Juliet—Austin Simpson 16 pass from Nolan Chowbay [Foster kick], 4:59
Lebanon—Kyle Santana 14 pass from Jarren Stewart [White kick], 3:40.
Mt. Juliet—Jackson 11 run [Foster kick], 2:53.
Mt. Juliet—Darius Lowery 20 pass from Chowbay [Foster kick], 9:02.
Lebanon—Santana 24 pass from Stewart [White kick], 6:15.
Mt. Juliet—Kyle Mahler 20 run [Foster kick], 4:58.
Mt. Juliet—Joey Hayes 1 run [Foster kick], 11:54.
Lebanon—Joseph Taylor 35 run [kick failed], 7:12.
Mt. Juliet—Colin Williams 8 run [Foster kick], 5:30.
Rushes-yards 39-244 38-348
Passing yards 85 144
—Comp.-Att.-Int. 10-25-4 6-14-0
Total yards 329 492
First downs 19 19
—Rushing 12 13
—Passing 5 5
—Penalty 2 1
Punts-avg. 4-30.5 0-0
Fumbles lost 0 2
Lebanon—Taye Davis 10-66, Jarren Stewart 12-78, Truck Weir 2-3, Jackson Gray 3-13, Raheem Reynolds 4-16, Joseph Taylor 7-80, Mason Reeves 1-[-12].
Mt. Juliet—Jaden White 1-13, Bryce Camacho 1-42, Joey Hazyes 1-1, Jay Murphy 1-3, Jahuar Jackson 7-75, Nolan Chowbay 2-3, Josh Williams 3-10, Darius Lowery 4-34, Kyle Mahler 8-123, Colin Williams 3-27, Jace Sayer 4-10, Rowan Jasper 3-7.
Lebanon—Taye Davis 0-1-1—0, Jackson Gray 1-5-0—4, Jarren Stewart 9-19-3—81.
Mt. Juliet—Nolan Chowbay 6-14-0—144
Lebanon—Kyle Santana 3-51, Taye Davis 4-21, Joseph Taylor 1-4, Truck Weir 1-5, Raheem Reynolds 1-4.
Mt. Juliet—Kyle Mahler 1-24, Austin Simpson 2-57, Alex Landis 2-43, Darius Lowery 1-20.
Missed field goals
Mt. Juliet—44, 56.