MOUNT VERNON, MO — Mount Vernon Football surprised many in 2018 as it marched to its second straight Class 3 semifinal.
“We had graduated ten seniors off the team that played for the state championship,” said Mountaineers Head Coach Tom Cox. “So we just were unknown. So that makes it fun when you see guys rewarded for their hard work.”
For the team to make it back to that level in 2019, it will have to retool. Two-way star and reigning Class 3 Defensive Player of the Year Will Boswell has graduated.
In his senior season, Boswell accumulated 1,567 yards and 21 touchdowns on offense as well as 164 tackles, five sacks and five fumble recoveries on the defensive side of the ball.
“That’s some hard shoes to fill,” said Mount Vernon Senior Carson Bowman, who will be the team’s running back this season. “It’s crazy to think that he’s gone and I’ve got to pick up the slack that his is giving me.”
Mountaineers Starting Quarterback Zach Jones said, “Will was a great player. He definitely did his thing on both sides of the field. It will definitely be more of a team effort this year.”
The Mountaineers have plenty of talent to work with though. Jones is back for his senior campaign after throwing for more than 2400 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2018. Bowman rushed for nearly 400 yards a year ago.
Coach Cox has seen those guys take a leadership role early on into preseason practice.
“Those guys provide a good nucleus for us that everyone can feed off of,” Coach Cox said. “Those guys are right there picking guys up and encouraging them all the way.”
The team has stressed paying attention to detail in 2019 if they want to make another run at the state title.
“We’re making sure our feet are right, our mouthpieces are in, our chinstraps are strapped, making sure every person knows what they’re doing,” said Jones. “We have accountability with each other.”
Coach Cox said, “We’re trying to fine tune and just eliminate those tiny little mistakes that can cost us from making it all the way to that mountain top.”
Mount Vernon opens up its season on August 30th at Monett.