MT. JULIET -- Football is often a game of rhythm, and by the time Mt. Juliet had finished off Rossview 37-14 Thursday night, the Golden Bears were in sync at Elzie Patton Stadium/Mel Brown Athletic Complex.
The Golden Bears never trailed as Tyler Johnson's 45-yard field goal gave them an early 3-0 lead. But Rossview drew to within 10-7 late in the first half before Mt. Juliet pulled away to a 4-2 season mark and 3-0 in Region 4-6A.
"We're getting better offensively," Mt. Juliet coach Trey Perry said after earning his 50th win as Golden Bear head coach (against 25 losses in 61/2 seasons). "We finally found an identity. Very proud of No. 3 (wide receiver Malik Bowen), he had a big night, as he should. It's an expectation.
"We're finding some rhythm. It's the same thing on defense the opposite way. When we win first downs on offense, it makes our job a whole lot easier, and especially in the second half, I felt like we did that tonight."
Quarterback Brice Messenger ran for a pair of 1-yard scoring sneaks, including one on the first play of the second quarter which put Mt. Juliet up 10-0. Through the air, he was an efficient 8-of-10 for 117 yards, hitting Duke-bound Bowen five times for 104 yards. A diving 38-yard catch and a 32-yard jump-ball win set up Jamari Sowell's 1-yard scoring jet sweep 13 seconds before halftime for a 17-7 lead.
"Brice did a good job tonight," Perry said. "On first downs, even if it's quick screens and things like that to set us up ahead of the sticks, that helps."
Before that however, Mt. Juliet had to endure an 18-play, 80-yard Rossview drive which saw the Hawks convert two fourth downs and overcome a 7-yard fumble which they recovered and a pair of false-start penalties. Quarterback Gabe Siebert sneaked it over from a yard out to bring the visitors within 10-7 with just over three minutes left before halftime, ending an-almost nine-minute series.
"Our substitution patterns, we're trying to get more guys action," Perry said of Rossview's drive. "It's a hot night -- again. But when we put those guys in we expect them to do the same, and we didn't win some first downs in that drive. Really, the only thing we did at halftime was change our substitution patterns."
Mt. Juliet opened the second half with a 64-yard kick return by Sowell to the Rossview 31-yard line. That series ended with a missed 48-yard field goal from Johnson which had the distance but was wide left.
But a 27-yard punt return by Devin Palmer and a personal foul on Rossview set up Sowell's 27-yard jet sweep touchdown.
An interception by Zach Pertuset led to Palmer's 4-yard touchdown run late in the quarter. Grady Mang picked off Siebert in the first quarter.
Messenger's second scoring sneak was followed by Michael Martinez's block of the extra point.
Rossview, which lost Siebert to an injury late in the third quarter, scored in the final couple of minutes of the fourth when backup Brock Rowland, who completed all three of his passes for 47 yards, found Alshon Davis for 35 yards and Davis again for 8 and a touchdown. But it was too little too late for the Hawks, who returned to Clarksville 4-3, 1-2.
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Mt. Juliet, which just came off a short week, will play again next Thursday when the Bears bus to Spring Hill for a 7 p.m. non-region kickoff.
Mt. Juliet 37, Rossview 14
Rossview 0 7 0 7 -- 14
Mt. Juliet 3 14 14 6 -- 37
Mt. Juliet -- Tyler Johnson 45 FG, 7:58.
Mt. Juliet -- Brice Messenger 1 run (Johnson kick), 11:56.
Rossview -- Gabe Siebert 1 run (Aaron Pardo kick), 3:08.
Mt. Juliet -- Jamari Sowell 1 run (Johnson kick), :13.
Mt. Juliet -- Sowell 27 run (Johnson kick), 5:51.
Mt. Juliet -- Devin Palmer 5 run (Johnson kick), 2:35.
Mt. Juliet -- Messenger 1 run (kick blocked), 9:52.
Rossview -- Alshon Davis 8 pass from Brock Rowland (Pardo kick), 1:45.
First downs 11 10
• Rushing 8 6
• Passing 3 3
• Penalty 0 0
Rushes-yards 39-159 35-146
Passing yards 114 117
• Comp.-Att.-Int. 12-19-2 8-10-0
Punts-avg. 4-26.8 2-32.5
Penalties-yards 9-48 3-25
Fumbles lost 0 0
RUSHING -- Rossview: Gabe Siebert 11-4, Harry Gilliam 1-37, Alshon Davis 3-5, Brock Rowland 3-1, Diivonte Phillips 21-112. Mt. Juliet: Conlin Baggott 12-61, Brice Messenger 10-6, Jamari Sowell 3-35, Devin Palmer 2-11, Malik Bowen 1-12, Tayshaun Thompson 1-21, Cameron Moravic 3-(-2), Joshua Jackson 2-3, Stephen Swoner 1-(-1).
PASSING -- Rossview: Gabe Siebert 9-16-2 -- 67, Brock Rowland 3-3-0 -- 47. Mt. Juliet: Brice Messenger 8-10-0 -- 117.
RECEIVING -- Rossview: Samuel Harding 4-31, Alshon Davis 4-61, Ephraimn Rolingson 1-18, Diivonte Phillips 1-0, Aaron Bolster 2-4. Mt. Juliet: Malik Bowen 5-104, Derrick Dobson 1-6, Osize Daniyan 1-6, Matt Delfendahl 1-1.
MISSED FIELD GOALS -- Mt. Juliet: Tyler Johnson 48 (wide left).