MOUNT VERNON — Ashland flipped the script from last week’s shutout loss to New Philadelphia, and Mount Vernon paid the price.
The Arrows came from behind, found their stride and earned a 31-14 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
The win came just in time for coach Scott Valentine’s club.
“I told our kids we had a couple of tough weeks, with Buckeye Valley and then last week down there in New Philly, a couple of tough weeks, but our kids kept working,” Valentine said.
“That’s what I’m proud of ’em for. They kept working, kept getting better, and we knew we had to come out and show that improvement tonight.”
Mount Vernon jumped in front when Mavrik Gregory scored on a 6-yard TD blast to give the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 edge with 7:14 left in the first quarter.
But Ashland responded on the ensuing drive when highly-touted quarterback Nathan Bernhard hurdled into the endzone from 12 yards away to tie the game with 4:44 showing.
When Bernhard got the ball back, he hit receiver Michael Franz for a 35-yard touchdown pass, giving the Arrows a 14-7 advantage with 11:09 left in the half.
Bernhard got loose again for another rushing touchdown with 4:07 showing before intermission for a 21-7 margin. Then, with just 4 seconds to play in the half, Ashland booted a field goal for a 24-7 lead.
The Arrows used Bernhard and the running talents of Gabe Baith and Cayden Spotts.
“Our thought process was trying to take what they did defensive alignment-wise and use those guys and take advantage of what they did to what they’re trying to do to use and our kids,” Valentine said. “We did a great job of executing that.”
The Yellow Jackets were able to bounce back in the third quarter when the defense recovered a fumble after a strip-sack of Bernhard.
Mount Vernon quarterback Jake Taylor threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Higgins to climb within 24-14.
But the Yellow Jackets weren’t able to score again, while the Arrows added a clinching touchdown.
Mount Vernon falls to 1-4 overall, 0-2 in the OCC. The Yellow Jackets are at New Philadelphia next week.
Ashland improves to 3-2, 1-1. The Arrows host winless Madison on Friday night.