Althoff’s weapons were far too many for Mount Vernon on Saturday.
The Crusaders, using their vast stockpile of talent, rolled to a 55-16 victory over the Rams in a game that was postponed by lightning Friday. Althoff led 48-0 at halftime before turning over the game to its reserves to start the third quarter.
“We’ve been playing good football over the last few years,” Althoff coach Ken Turner said. “We’re kind of where we want to be as a program, trying to get to the big game all the time. We wanted to come out and play fast and not mess around. The kids came out and did what we wanted them to do.”
Junior Justin Strong helped power the Crusaders (4-0 overall, 1-0 South Seven Conference) with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 1-yard TD run.
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“We wanted to get through this game and get ready for the next game,” said the 6-0, 183-pound Strong. “We don’t ever take any game lightly and we play as hard as we can.”
Mount Vernon (0-4, 0-1) certainly wouldn’t disagree with Strong. After the Crusaders turned over the ball on downs on their first possession, they scored on six of their next seven possessions, in addition to Strong’s interception return.
Senior quarterback Trey Mosley threw touchdown passes of 36 yards to senior Jordan Goodwin, 31 yards to junior Melvin Brock and 14 yards to senior Edwyn Brown. Senior Jaylon Bester added touchdown runs of 15 yards and 19 yards.
“It’s their speed, their power, their skill and the (quality of) athletes that go to Althoff. That’s their history,” first-year Mount Vernon coach Mark Goodheart said. “For 22, 23 years now, I’ve been fighting against Althoff, and year in and year out, they’re a very, very strong ballclub.”
The second half was played with a continuous running clock.
Mosley’s touchdown pass to Goodwin made it 7-0 with 6:03 to play in the first quarter. Strong then picked off a pass by Mount Vernon sophomore quarterback Nick Malone near the right sidelines, stayed in bounds by inches and raced into the end zone to make it 14-0.
“I saw the dude (sophomore tailback Elijah Badger) run out and I wanted to go make the play,” Strong said. “I saw the quarterback’s eyes and I just made the play.”
Freshman DeAndre Lenard had the Crusaders’ lone score after halftime, a 31-yard run in the fourth quarter that made it 55-8 and gave Althoff 204 points in four games.
Turner said victories at J.D. Shields Memorial Stadium always are sweet.
“I remember years ago when I was an assistant coach, they were 9-0,” Turner said. “My first year of coaching, they beat us pretty bad here. That’s going to stick with me every time I come here.”
Althoff’s defense allowed just 15 total yards in the first half before Malone had a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, one for 12 yards to senior Jacob Wylie and another for 82 yards to senior Jeremiah Frank.
Bester had 11 carries for 96 yards for Althoff. Strong had two carries for 47 yards and had another interception return for a touchdown called back by a penalty in the first half.
“When you look at our stats, nobody is going to have big numbers,” Turner said. “But if you look at how many guys contributed in this game, I would rather have it that way. When our whole team is getting involved, we’re pretty tough to slow down.”
Turner said Strong would see more time in the backfield if it weren’t for Bester.
“He’s so solid,” Turner said of Strong. “He’s just such an athlete, but we have Jaylon. (Strong) is very good on defense, so I want to pick my spots when I use him on offense. But I’m 100 percent confident when he’s in the backfield, just like I am with everybody else in our backfield.”