By Craig Hull
Special to The Globe
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
Chase Johnston told himself “stay home.”
With 0.08 seconds left, Mount Vernon had the ball at the Carl Junction 7-yard line trailing by four points Friday night.
As a defense, what do you look for?
The Mountaineers had just completed a 45-yard pass on fourth down-and-31 and promptly spiked the ball to set up the final play.
Would Mount Vernon turn to the arm of freshman Jacob LaSalle, making his first start? Or would it be senior tailback Shane Williams, who had already carried the ball 24 times for 174 yards?
The call was a draw play to Williams. Johnston, the Bulldogs’ 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore defensive end stayed home on the play, grabbed Williams by the hip and secured the tackle at the 5-yard line as time expired, lifting Carl Junction to a 21-17 homecoming victory over Mount Vernon at Bulldog Stadium.
“At first, I thought they were going to pass it and it was everything I could do to resist running up field at the quarterback,” Johnston said. “But I felt the way they were blocking the play and that’s when I figured it was going to be a draw so I stayed home and once I got my hands on him, I just made I wrapped my arms around his legs and wouldn’t let go.”
Johnston’s defensive stop culminated a wild final eight minutes.
The Mountaineers (5-3, 3-3 Big 8) led 10-7 with 8:07 left in the game after the Bulldogs got the ball back at the Carl Junction 39 after LaSalle was sacked by Chris Whelan.
It took three plays for the Bulldogs (3-5, 3-3) to take their first lead as Dustin Satterlee hit Matt Magee in stride for a 48-yard touchdown pass with 7:47 left and a 14-10 score.
Mount Vernon answered in two plays — Williams broke a 72-yard isolation play down the far sideline, breaking three tackles before he was caught at the 2 by Magee. LaSalle scored on the next play to put the Mountaineers back on top 17-14 with 7:12 remaining.
Magee’s 36-yard kickoff return allowed Carl Junction to start at the Mount Vernon 40. Satterlee connected with J Thomas for four yards, picked up 15 on a draw play and after a loss on first down and incomplete pass on second down, connected with Magee for 13 yards to set up first-and-goal at the 9. Sophomore Lucas Hertzberg covered the remaining distance in three plays, scoring from the 3 with 4:08 left.
“It didn’t matter to us how we moved the ball down the field, we knew in that situation we had to pick up first downs, move the ball and score,” said Satterlee, who was 10 of 24 passing for 146 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions to go along with a team-high 48 yards rushing on seven carries.
“We got great field position all night on our kickoff returns, and Matt set up that drive with a great effort. Our offensive line did a great job protecting in the passing game and give us time to throw the ball.”
Mount Vernon started its final drive with at its 20 and picked up two first downs, the second after a personal foul penalty, to approach midfield.
A 13-yard completion from LaSalle to Denton Thomas gave Mount Vernon a first down at the Carl Junction 31. A holding penalty and quarterback sack by Whelan and Taylor Dawby moved the ball back to the 48 with 20 seconds left.
On fourth-and-31, LaSalle lofted a deep pass to Dominic Swillum who made a diving catch at the Carl Junction 7.
As the officials marked the ball, players from both teams sprinted down field as the clock stopped with 2.7 seconds left. Lasalle spiked the ball once the officials marked it ready for play and had :0.8 left after the snap.
Carl Junction called a timeout before the final play.
“We thought they were going to run the ball because they had not had much success throwing it and their best player is (Williams) and they were going to get the ball in his hands,” Carl Junction head coach Jesse Wall said. “We should have done a better job on the play before to keep the last play from happening, but our defense made a nice play when they had to make stop.”
LaSalle completed 10 of 19 passes for 132 yards. Williams finished with 176 yards on 25 carries with a 23-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Devin Morris kicked a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter to give the Mountaineers the early lead.
Magee caught five passes for 102 yards and both of Satterlee’s touchdowns. His first touchdown catch was a 21-yarder that was tipped in the end zone by Connor Rohmiller and caught by Magee.