Mt. Juliet couldn’t have asked for a better start to their season-opener against Cane Ridge. On the first play of the game, the Golden Bears defense recovered a fumble and a play later junior quarterback Tyler Travers connected with Baylor Osborne for the first touchdown of the new season.
The Golden Bears’ grew to 17 points midway through the third and they looked well on their way to an easy Week 1 victory.
Cane Ridge had other plans though as they chipped away and made it a three-point game with just over four minutes remaining. However, like they had done most of the night, Mt. Juliet’s defense came big with 30 seconds remaining forcing their fifth turnover of the game to secure the 31-28 win.
“Eddie Woods has won seven or eight regional championships, been to the big dance, been to the semifinals and they’ve done all that for a good reason. That’s a good football team,” Mt Juliet coach Trey Perry said. “They never panicked and I don’t think we did either. They made some plays in the second half but we finished.
…We talk a lot about responding to adversity and we had some situations where we could have dropped our heads and momentum could have become our worst enemy. We fought through it.”
Mt. Juliet defense stands out in narrow win
Defense was the name of the game for the Golden Bears against Cane Ridge. On the night they forced five turnovers in total, four of which were fumbles. They turned two of those fumbles into touchdowns.
Junior linebacker Brooklyn Nguyen came up with the night’s biggest turnovers. As Cane Ridge was driving down the field for the potentially game-winning touchdown or game-tying field goal, Nguyen sealed the win with an interception along the sideline.
“It was just communication,” Nguyen said. “He came across me and I just decided to follow him. The ball just ended up in my hands after that.
…the message at the end was just to close it out. Our defense had a whole bunch of great stops already so we just had to do it again. Thankfully we did it.”
Golden Bears overcome a stagnant fourth-quarter attack
Offensively, the night was a mixed bag for the Golden Bears. They scored on two of their first three possessions behind passes from Travers to Osborne and Brady Jones. Harrison Edwards and Jon’Mikael Crudup each added rushing scores in the second half to push the lead up to 17 points.
After those scores though, Mt. Juliet’s offense became stagnant. Cane Ridge scored on back-to-back possessions to make it a three-point game and Mt. Juliet had an opportunity to seal the win on one final possession.
Driving deep into Cane Ridge territory, Mt. Juliet faced a fourth and short with just over 30 seconds remaining. They went for it and got stuffed giving Cane Ridge one last opportunity.
When Nguyen came up with the game-sealing interception, Travers said he couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.
“Brooklyn’s my boy,” Travers said after the win. “I was going crazy because out of all the people to get an interception like that, you wouldn’t think that it would be him. When I saw that it was him, I was just like ‘yes, thank goodness it was him.'”