Turnovers have been Mount Vernon's flaw throughout this season, and miscues again spelled doom for the Majors last night.
Mount Vernon fumbled eight times, losing five in its National District game with Stuart. Drwin Jones recovered one fumble for the go-ahead touchdown, and Mike Awadallah threw for two scores as Stuart used a 21-point fourth quarter to defeat host Mount Vernon, 29-6.
This game was symbolic of Mount Vernon's nightmare season. The National District champions each of the past three years, the young Majors are 0-7 overall and 0-3 in the district.
"They'll be back," Stuart Coach Roy Ferri said after his team's first win over Mount Vernon since 1993. "They're very young."
Mount Vernon has turned over the ball 29 times in seven games. The Majors had 18 turnovers when going 8-3 last year and winning the district.
When Jones recovered Mount Vernon quarterback Tunde Ogunjulugbe's fumble in the end zone with 6 minutes 54 seconds left in the third quarter, the game changed. That tied the score, and Tyrone Holmes's bizarre conversion run gave the Raiders the lead for good at 8-6.
Holmes bobbled the snap, and kicker Dernos Zissios swung and missed at the ball. Holmes then picked the ball up and ran into the end zone.
That play seemed to deflate the Majors. Awadallah (8 for 17, 111 yards) threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Dave Thomas on the third play of the fourth quarter to make it 15-6.
Two Stuart touchdowns on three plays sealed the issue later in the quarter. Andy Anderson returned a punt for a 76-yard touchdown with 3:48 left. The Majors fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, and Awadallah threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Holmes two plays later.
"We kind of thought that if we went into the game and didn't make mistakes, things would work out," Ferri said.
The Majors held the Raiders to 46 total yards and two first downs in the first half--with just two plays longer than five yards as they built a 6-0 lead over Stuart.
Mount Vernon scored on its opening drive when Thomas Clayton burst up the middle on a 26-yard run with 8:07 left in the first quarter. The Majors gained 56 yards on that drive but could muster only 46 the remainder of the game.