Middle TN High School Football Game of The Week: Mount Juliet Golden Bears vs Green Hill Hawks

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For the first time in this new rivalry, it has a name. The Mayors Cup. The winning team will be presented with the symbol of the bragging rights that come with this Mount Juliet matchup every year, as Mount Juliet Mayor James Maness presents the winning team with the trophy. If that wasn’t enough, this game ended up being the region championship for this season. The environment was alive as The Hill had some of the biggest high school bleachers I had ever seen filled to the brim on the home and away sides. I caught up with The Mayor during the game, and you can hear that interview below.

After an amazing entrance from Green Hill that you can watch below and the senior night festivities were over, it was time to get to business, and The Golden Bears wasted no time, as Osize Daniyan took the opening kickoff back 95 yards for the first touchdown of the night. Green Hill responded taking the ball inside the red zone with just two gashing runs. The Bears’ defense stood tall and showed its teeth with three great open-field tackles to force a fourth-and-goal situation for The Hawks. Green Hill would take their three points making the game 7-3 Bears. After forcing a three-and-out Green Hill started their drive at their own 10-yard line but were backed up to the five by a false start. The Hawks converted two third-and-long situations with perfectly executed screenplays on their way to the red zone for the second time with the intention of taking the lead.

As the second quarter began, once again, the Mount Juliet defense bent but showed no break in the red zone forcing another field goal attempt. The kick was good, making it 7-6 Bears with ten minutes to go in the half. Mount Juliet was still unable to move the ball and had to punt back to Green Hill taking just one minute and thirty seconds off the clock. After a 53-yard catch and run by Sean Aldridge, The Hawks were threatening again, and this time Brax Lamberth left no doubt for Green Hill with a seven-yard touchdown run, making it 12-7 Hawks after a failed two-point try. The Mount Juliet offense was going to have to respond or risk letting this game get away from them. Respond they did, working the ball down the field and inside the 20 with rumbling runs from DeArrius Morton. It would not matter in the end as Green Hill forced a fumble and recovered, turning The Golden Bear offense away. The Mount Juliet defense with their backs against the wall gave their offense another shot. The run game they established with their last possession would show up again as running back Jon’Mikael Crudup powered into the end zone from 10 yards out. The two-point try would fail and the score with two minutes left in the half would remain 13-12 Bears. After a Green Hill punt, MJ would be left with 50 seconds before the half. After a nice run and a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer, Bears Quarterback, Tyler Travers, loaded up and fired a rocket nearly 40 yards downfield that deflected off a Green Hill helmet and into the outstretched arms of a Bears receiver. MJ had reached striking distance with 20 seconds left. Green Hill then recovered with a sack and The Bears let the clock tick down to one second content with a final shot to the endzone. That deep ball would fall incomplete and the score at half would remain Mount Juliet 13 Green Hill 12.

The Hawks received the ball to start the second half and they started off well, picking up yardage with chunk plays and moving the ball down the field, until a fumble derailed the drive sucking all the momentum out of the Green Hill sideline and handing it right to Mount Juliet. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would only make matters worse for the Hawks. This was not the start they wanted coming out of the locker room. Mount Juliet then took over and mounted a drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock, leaning heavily on DeArrius Morton. After failing to convert on third down inside the 25-yard line, The Bears sent out the field goal unit. The kick was up, it had the distance, but no… wide right. The score remained 13-12 Bears. Mount Juliet then got a third down stop of their own, forcing a punt near midfield. Everyone at The Hill joined together in singing Sweet Caroline as The Hawks needed a stop, The Bears needed a score, and we inched closer to the fourth and final quarter of the region championship. Green Hill started off the series with two tackles for loss and the horn sounded sending us into the fourth with the score still standing at 13-12 Mount Juliet.

Green Hill built on those two tackles for loss and forced an MJ punt. This was exactly what they needed. The momentum from that defensive stop carried them down the field until again the Golden Bear defense held strong in the red zone. Green Hill would have to attempt to take the lead with a kick. Snap, set, kick…blocked! The kick was blocked, and who else but DeArrius Morton began running the other way with it. He ran it all the way back down his team’s sideline to extend the lead in the region championship in the form of a huge swing. Green Hill would have to respond. Unfortunately for them, they were not able to and Mount Juliet forced a fumble on their first play. You can watch that fumble and the following Bears drive below.

Green Hill was able to score on their next drive that you can watch below, but Mount Juliet was able to get a first down and run out the clock winning The Mayor’s Cup, and 5A Region 5 with a final score of 26-19.

The game came to a close as well as the regular season for 2022. The Bears were rewarded for a Friday Night Rivals victory, as well as with The Mayor’s Cup and all the bragging rights that come with both as the region champions.

MVP

Our MVP is who else but DeArrius Morton. His two touchdowns in the fourth quarter sealed the game for The Bears. You can hear that interview below.

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