By Casey Surma
MT. JULIET – Early turnovers by Spring Hill and excellent defense by Mt. Juliet created the perfect storm that led to a 28-0 shutout for the hosts.
The contest was shortened following an injury to Mt. Juliet linebacker Collin Gleaves with 6:48 remaining in the final period. Gleaves was involved in a violent collision and was thought to have sustained a head/neck injury.
“We feel like all of this is precautionary which is good news, since he had feeling in every extremity and passed every test,” Mt. Juliet coach Trey Perry said following the game. “When it involves the head, we are going to take every precaution necessary.”
Mt. Juliet (5-0), the No. 7 team in the current Associated Press Class 6A statewide poll, sputtered off the opening kickoff as the winless Raiders forced a three-and-out.
On the following punt, the ball touched a Spring Hill player, with the Golden Bears recovering at the Raider 15-yard line. The short field led to a 37-yard field goal by Connor Kowalski.
The ensuing Spring Hill possession was cut short as Gleaves intercepted a Luka Boylan pass, giving the hosts possession just nine yards from the end zone. Two plays later, Conlin Baggot scored from the 1 to make it an 11-0 game.
After another miscommunication led to a Raider fumble in their territory on the next drive, Mt. Juliet scored again on a Stephen Swoner 1-yard scamper and extended the lead to 18-0.
“You can’t make mistakes like that against a quality opponent because it is going to be a tough game regardless of what you do,” said Spring Hill coach Ben Martin, whose team had been idle the past two weeks for pandemic-related concerns.
Though his team fell to 0-6, Martin was very proud of the way his defense played as they were put in some tough positions early.
“They started inside the 20 three times and got up early on us, but we were able to stuff them there in the second quarter” Martin said.
“I thought the defense played well, but we have to start executing on offense.”
Mt. Juliet did not score again until Jamari Sowell scored on a bruising 4-yard run to cap a 13-play drive and put the Golden Bears up 25-0 in the third quarter.
The final score in the game was a 21-yard Karson Huss fourth-quarter field goal, before the Gleaves injury.
“Anything we have given up on defense this year has been explosive plays, and we were able to stop that tonight even though the Raiders had some explosive skill guys,” Perry said.
“I’m extremely proud of the defense because they showed up and played some great football tonight.”
Mt. Juliet 28, Spring Hill 0
at Mt. Juliet
SH 0 0 0 0 — 0
MJ 18 0 7 3 — 28
MJ — Connor Kowalski 37 field goal (9:45)
MJ — Conlin Baggott 1 run (8:04), conversion run
MJ — Stephen Swoner 1 run (2:50), Kowalski kick
MJ — Jamari Sowell 4 run (0:39), Kowalski kick
MJ — Karson Hass 21 field goal (8:16)