Edison 14, Mount Vernon 7
After carrying the ball only once in the first half, Edison running back Devin Clark was asked to step in for ailing starter Kevin Roberts at halftime, and Clark gave the Eagles all they could ask for.
Clark carried the ball 21 times in the second half, totaling 84 yards behind a surging offensive line and bruising fullback Calvin Salter, an effort that slowly wore down the Mount Vernon defense. On Clark's fifth carry of the night, he took a pitch around left end and went untouched into the end zone from 12 yards for the decisive score as the Eagles beat the Majors, 14-7.
The win gave Edison (6-2, 5-0) a boost in the competitive AAA National District and put Mount Vernon (5-3, 3-2) in jeopardy of missing the playoffs altogether.
"This was just an exciting game," Edison Coach Vaughn Lewis said. "Both teams played hard, we got a couple breaks and some big plays. Our defense played extremely well and we're very happy with the victory."
In the first quarter, it appeared that the game would be anything but a defensive struggle. Mount Vernon's Brandon Beach intercepted a pass by Edison's Anthony Robinson on the third play of the game, and the Majors went 60 yards on three plays, the bulk coming on quarterback Patrick Reiley's 47-yard touchdown run that gave Mount Vernon the early lead.
The Eagles came right back on their next drive. Starting from its 17, Edison moved the ball swiftly downfield behind Roberts (13 carries, 55 yards) and a 40-yard pass from Robinson to Justin Smith. Roberts finished off the drive with a 19-yard run, but Beach blocked the extra point. The Eagles trailed 7-6 at halftime.
Already playing on a tender ankle, Roberts was held out of the second half, setting the stage for Clark, who closed out the Majors by intercepting a pass in the closing seconds.
"The offensive line did awesome, my blocking was there and I just did what I had to do," said the junior running back, who finished with 86 yards on 22 carries. "Coaches had confidence in me, I had confidence in my coaches and my blockers, and that's what you have to do to win."
Mental mistakes by the Majors overshadowed another sterling performance by their defense, which came in having allowed just six points in the previous three games. A block in the back negated Mario Coleman's 80-yard punt return in the closing minute of the first half, penalties stalled two other drives in the second half and the deciding touchdown was set up when Mount Vernon couldn't handle the opening kick of the second half. Edison recovered the ball at the Mount Vernon 34-yard line.
"They played great," Mount Vernon Coach Jody Stone said. "We just made a couple too many mistakes."