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Mary Montgomery navigates minefield of penalty flags, earns tough 19-7 road win over Charles Henderson

Mary G. Montgomery’s Jordan Simmons (93) and Anthony Cassino (9) sack Charles Henderson quarterback Parker Adams Thursday night in Troy during the Vikings’ 19-7 win. (Kennedy Roy/Special to the Call News)

Mary G. Montgomery’s Troy Flowers tries to turn the corner against Charles Henderson defenders during Thursday night’s 19-7 win in Troy. Flowers ran for 75 yards on 19 carries and had five receptions for 49 yards. (Kennedy Roy/Special to the Call News)


Mary G. Montgomery’s James Bolton grabs a 33-yard touchdown pass from Jared Hollins after beating Charles Henderson’s Cortavious Downing in the second quarter Thursday night in Troy. The Vikings won 19-7. (Kennedy Roy/Special to thje Call News)


TROY — So many yellow penalty flags littered the field Thursday night that it was hard to tell if the players were cramping or tripping over them.

Neither No. 9-ranked Class 7A Mary G. Montgomery nor No. 2-ranked 5A Charles Henderson could develop a rhythm while slogging through the pile of dirty laundry but the Vikings nevertheless controlled the game nearly from the start and never trailed in a 19-7 victory over the Trojans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

MGM (2-0) won its eighth straight regular-season game as quarterback Jared Hollins ran for a couple of short touchdowns and pulled the stuffings out of Henderson with a 33-yard scoring pass to James Bolton just after the Vikings’ defense repelled a fourth-and-1 in the second quarter, when the outcome was still in doubt.

MGM beat a ranked opponent for only the fourth time in 68 games since 2000 as Hollins was an efficient 16-of-20 passing for 209 yards and Bolton had six receptions for 77 yards.

But both teams were plagued by penalties — MGM had 16 for 119 yards and the Trojans had 15 for 128.

Mary Montgomery was in position to rout Henderson — getting into Trojans’ territory on nine of its 10 possessions — but penalties marked every series on which the Vikings didn’t score except for Hollins’ fumble at Henderson’s 9 late in the game.

“That was a really good football team we played,” MGM coach Zach Golson said. “It’s a great place to play and we found a way to win. They’re a 5A team and we thought we could lean on them some and tempo them and we did. I’m pleased with the outcome but not pleased with the overall execution.”

Trojans coach Quinn Hambrite, who took his team to the Super 7 last season, said the flurry of penalty flags took its toll on his players.

“It seemed like every play was called back in the first half,” Hambrite said. “We got the gas taken out of us. It’s hard to come back from that kind of stuff and kids have to learn to deal with adversity when things don’t go our way. That’s more penalties than I’m used to.”

And no doubt more defense than he’s used to, as Henderson was never held to a single touchdown all last season.

“Hats off to the defense,” Golson said. “They tackled so well. They’ve got some playmakers.”

The Vikings choked the Trojans (0-1) to only 44 yards rushing and MGM is now 32-1 since 2000 when allowing 10 or less points. The Vikings have surrendered only nine points in two games to Henderson and Williamson, a pair of 5A teams.

“The defense has improved a lot from last year,” MGM cornerback Jariell Lett said. “We don’t feel like we have any weak links.”

Lett was a major factor in the Vikings’ victory, keeping Trojans star receiver Jywon Boyd from hurting MGM deep and breaking through to stop Boyd on a fourth-and-1 in the second quarter while the Vikings were clinging to a 6-0 lead.

Boyd, who has committed to Troy, had nine catches for 125 yards despite limping off the field several times with cramps.

“He’s a great deep ball threat,” said Lett, the team’s best lockdown cornerback. “I wasn’t worried about him that much in the short game because I had inside help. We didn’t get beat but one time and I think it was still great coverage.”

Golson was confident there would be no Lett-up against Boyd.

“Jariell did a good job on him,” Golson said. “We made sure we had a lot of sets of eyes on him.”

MGM led 6-0 late in the first half when Hambrite decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 at his 44.

But Boyd took a toss to the right and was swallowed first by Lett and then finished off by safety Shondell Harris for an 11-yard loss.

“That was a big momentum change,” Golson said. “But we were up 14-3 at halftime last year against them and lost. We talked to our guys all week about finishing this time.”

Lett sensed Boyd would get the ball since he lined up in the backfield.

“I saw him back there and we have a play where the corner comes off the edge,” Lett said. “I had to wait on the tight end to see if he was going out, then I sealed the edge. I saw (Boyd) and went after his legs and wrapped him up.”

Hambrite took the blame for the play.

“It was my fault,” he said. “We should have gone to the other side. We had the numbers to the left. If we’d have gone there, we’d have had a chance.”

On the next play, Bolton beat Cortavious Downing deep and hauled in Hollins’ 33-yard scoring pass for a 13-0 lead.

Bolton, the Vikings’ All-State receiver, had only two catches for 20 yards in last week’s 41-2 win over Williamson but found Henderson willing to risk more plentiful man-to-man coverage.

“I didn’t see as much double teaming as last week,” Bolton said. “I had to beat it. I don’t know why they thought they could do that when we’ve got the best quarterback in the state.”

Hollins was happy to oblige.

“I think we took advantage of them getting tired and James made them pay for it,” Hollins said.

Hollins, who has committed to South Alabama, scored from 6 yards out to culminate an 80-yard drive on Mary Montgomery’s first possession and added a 2-yard TD run in the third quarter at the end of a brisk 93-yard drive featuring Harris’ 51-yard run from the Wildcat formation and Hollins’ 42-yard pass to Jaiden Smith.

MGM led 19-0 until Boyd caught a 3-yard TD pass from Parker Adams early in the fourth quarter. By then, the Vikings had long asserted themselves against the run and in their own running game, rushing for 146 yards against a defensive line led by All-American four-star defensive end Zion Grady.

Aside from a couple of sacks, MGM lost yardage on only one running play. Harris had 79 yards on six carries and Troy Flowers 75 yards on 19 carries.

“It’s how did we handle their defensive front?” Golson said. “They move around and blitz and they’re big and physical.”

The Vikings open 7A Region 1 play by hosting Foley Friday at 7 p.m.

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