Majors Struggle to Find Rhythm in Loss to Washington-Lee
Mount Vernon falls to 1-3 on the season
It took Mount Vernon’s football team longer than usual to make it back to their high school Friday night. The team’s buses idled in a nearby parking lot while head coach Barry Wells had a few words for his players well after the final whistle following their lackluster performance.
Penalties, turnovers and dropped passes plagued the Majors all evening as the Washington-Lee Generals defeated Mount Vernon 40-21 on Friday, handing the Majors their third loss of the season.
“We have some problems. We have systemic problems,” said Wells, Mount Vernon’s third-year head coach. “It starts with work ethic…You can only do but so much short of going on the field and playing for them. We thought that we had a solid game plan and matched up well skill wise, but it comes down to execution. And we didn’t put in the kind of work this week to warrant us getting a win.”
Coming off last week’s hard-fought, eight-point loss to Centreville (3-1), optimism and excitement ran high entering Friday’s game against the Generals, who Mount Vernon defeated 28-6 last season.
“After the showing we had against Centreville, our expectations were a lot different than from what happened here this evening,” Wells said.
The Majors found themselves down by 14 points just 11 minutes into the first quarter and struggled to find rhythm on offense and defense. Costly miscues on special teams set the tone early as Washington-Lee blocked its first of two Mount Vernon’s punts in the first quarter.
Washington-Lee’s defensive line remained relentless and menaced Mount Vernon junior starting quarterback Brendon Maturey for most of the contest. The elusive quarterback used his athleticism to scramble and escape the pressure and finished the evening with a touchdown through the air on a 10-yard slant pass in the second quarter that put the Majors on the scoreboard. Maturey also scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak and a two-point conversion.
In a move to get to the ball in the hands of his playmakers, Wells moved senior Robert Decardi-Nelson to wide receiver this off season. Maturey connected with Decardi-Nelson several times in the game only to have those drives stall on penalties and dropped passes.
“Robert is a threat at wide receiver,” Wells said. “We felt like he could really help the team at receiver and it showed as [Washington-Lee] double teamed him all night. We had a number of dropped balls tonight and you’re not going to beat anybody when you’re dropping balls.”
Trailing 21-6 at halftime, Mount Vernon received the ball to start the second half and looked to have momentum. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, junior running back Carlton Griffith ripped off a 58-yard run that gave the Majors the ball deep in Washington-Lee territory. Four plays later, Griffith scored on a six-yard touchdown run. The missed extra point brought Mount Vernon within 16 points but that was as close as they would get.
The loss puts Mount Vernon at 0-1 in National District play as the Majors prepare to host Falls Church (1-3) on Sept. 28.
“[Falls Church head coach] Said Aziz has done a nice job with his team,” said Wells. “He has some young guys who are now coming of age and they’re going to be hungry and confident. They have some talent so if we don’t tighten a couple of things up, then it could be a big challenge.”