MOUNT VERNON – Lexington head football coach Andrew Saris knew Friday’s game against Mount Vernon was going to be as rough as a heavyweight title fight.
So, he brought out Lexington’s one-two punch: Joe Caudill and Markale Martin.
“At one point, I looked at those two and said, ‘We’re going to ride you to the end, fellas,’” Saris said. “And they said, ‘You got it, coach.’ And that’s a great feeling.”
Caudill and Martin took turns running the ball into the Mount Vernon defense, getting more successful as the game unfolded.
The pair finished the night with a combined 299 yards on the ground to lead the Minutemen on a second-half surge that culminated in a 31-17 road victory.
The Yellow Jackets dominated through the first half.
Senior star Jonny Askew gained 133 yards and a touchdown in the first two periods. That performance helped MV forge a 10-point lead twice in the second quarter, including a 17-7 advantage after quarterback Mason Reynolds squeezed into the end zone on a 2-yard carry.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lexington’s Seven Allen ripped off a 96-yard touchdown return to pull the Minutemen within 17-14.
Mount Vernon never scored again.
Lexington (2-2, 2-0 OCC) outscored the Jackets, 17-0, the rest of the way. Martin had 108 of his game-high 169 rushing yards in the second half, including touchdowns of eight and six yards. Caudill rushed for 52 yards in the half – 130 in total – while throwing for 88 yards on five completions.
Lexington earned its second straight victory – including a one-point win over Clear Fork – following two big losses to Shelby and unbeaten Ontario.
“Any time we can learn through adversity – learn to continue to fight – it’s going to keep you in a lot of football games,” Saris said. “As the game went on, we responded, and we responded well with that.”
Askew finished with 141 yards. The Minutemen held him to just eight yards on eight carries in the second half.
Mount Vernon (1-3, 0-1) took control early with an interception on the first drive by Hunter Looney. The Jackets drove down the field and took the lead on a 37-yard field goal by Gabe Montoya.
The lead grew to 10-0 in the second quarter on a 42-yard run by Askew.
Lexington followed with its first points on a 65-yard scoring drive, capped by a one-yard sneak by Caudill.
Mount Vernon hosts Ashland next Friday, while the Minutemen travel to Wooster.
“We have to have another great week of practice. We have to focus on us,” Saris said. “They’ll learn the game plan. But, we have to focus on ourselves. And, because we’ve done that, we’ve had success.”