MOUNT JULIET – After mistakes derailed the Mount Juliet football team’s season early this fall, the Senators appeared to have righted the ship with consecutive wins. The mistakes reappeared Friday night in a 28-18 loss to Taconic at Wahconah Park.
The Senators were victimized by physical and mental mistakes throughout the contest. The mistakes included two interceptions in the red zone, an errant snap that resulted in a safety, a costly fake punt gamble and numerous missed tackles. Anthony Whiteley went for five yards on first down and Johnson sprung free for 15, setting up first-and-goal at the Mount Juliet 5. Davon Gollman was stuffed on first down and a holding call moved the Braves back to the 15. The Senators swarmed Johnson in the backfield on second down, but he shook off two tacklers and split two more to get down to Mount Juliet 3. Whitely was stopped at the one on third down and Johnson tacked on an 18-yard field goal to give the Braves a two-score lead, 28-18, with 1:47 to play.
After two runs by Aaron Briggs produced four yards, Nick Newton cut through the defense for 19. After Briggs gained a yard on first down, Richardson took a counter around the right side for a 17-yard touchdown. Briggs’ conversion run failed and the Senators led 6-0 with 5:35 to play in first. Taconic began the ensuing drive at the Mount Juliet 46 and used a 28-yard run by Jake McNeice to setup first-and-goal and the Mount Juliet 4. McNeice would cap the drive by pushing his way in from a yard out on fourth-and-goal. Johnson’s kick was good and the Braves led 7-6 with 10:37 left in the first half.
Mount Juliet started at their own 40 and a pair completions from Paul to Newton helped give Mount Juliet a first down at the Taconic 21. After Briggs gained a yard on first down, Paul was intercepted by Dave Jones while attempting to throw a middle screen pass. Two plays later, Johnson took a counter through the left side for a 46-yard gain down to the Mount Juliet 4. Whiteley would finish the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Johnson added the extra point and the Braves led 14-6 with 5:51 left in the half.
The ensuing drive began at the Mount Juliet 41. A 4-yard run by Briggs and a 12-yard run by Richardson gave Mount Juliet a first down at the Taconic 43. A pair of Newton runs moved Mount Juliet to the Taconic 31. That set up a first down and Paul fired deep for Richardson on a wheel route and the duo connected for a 31-yard touchdown. The conversion failed and the Senators trailed 14-14 with 3:33 to play in the first half. A Taconic punt gave Mount Juliet possession at their own 42 with 1:04 to go. A 43-yard pass from Paul to Jed Richardson have the Senators a first down at the Taconic 8 with six seconds to play, but Paul’s next pass was intercepted in the end zone by Devon Walker.
The Braves punted to begin the second half, setting Mount Juliet up at their own 14. On the first play, the snap got past Paul and he fell on it in the end zone for a safety which gave Taconic a 16-12 lead with 8:39 to play in the third. After the safety punt, the Braves setup at the Mount Juliet 40. McNeice found Dan Carroll over the middle for a 29-yard gain, but the drive stalled out at the Mount Juliet 12. Taconic sent Johnson out to attempt a 30-yard field goal and he knocked it through the upright for a 19-12 lead.
Mount Juliet took over at their own 49 with 4:44 left in the third. A 16-yard run by Clay Richardson moved the Senators to the Taconic 29. On fourth down, Paul hit Jed Richardson on a slant to move the chains down the 16. Briggs carried the load from there, carrying four times before diving in from a yard out. The conversion run failed and the Senators still trailed, 19-18, with 40 seconds to play in the third. The Braves looked poised to answer as the march down to the Mount Juliet 15, but Newton stuffed Whiteley on fourth down and the Senators took over at their own 16. Three plays later, Richardson was stopped on the fake punt and the Braves pulled away for the victory.