VERNON — The Vernon Yellow Jackets took control of the ball in the first quarter and never looked back, thrashing the Holmes County High School Blue Devils 51-7 Friday night in Vernon.
Holmes County drew first blood when the Blue Devils recovered a fumbled Vernon snap and Chad Leavins rushed for 53 yards on three plays to score the Blue Devils’ only touchdown at the 9:07 mark in the opening quarter. John Etheridge’s kick was good for the extra point.
On their next possession, the Yellow Jackets drove 51 yards with Austin Brown rushing 26 yards on two carries for consecutive first downs, putting Vernon on the Holmes County 25-yard line. Then Darrius Peterson ran it in on a sweep to score, only to have the touchdown called back on a holding call.
Three Vernon TDs were voided due to flags for the evening, including a 90-yard kick return by Julian Silas — Vernon’s fouls kept the 51-7 drubbing even more lopsided.
Not to be deterred, Aaron Bowers scored on a 40-yard scamper from the reverse on the next play. Bowers also kicked the extra point to tie the score up 7-7 with 7:12 to play in the first quarter.
From that point on, it was all Vernon.
Three seconds into the second quarter, Darrius Peterson went up the middle from the 4-yard line to score for the Yellow Jackets, capping a 88-yard, 12-play drive. The extra point attempt was blocked but Vernon went up 13-7.
With 8:17 to play in the half, the Yellow Jackets found the end zone again, this time Alex Oneil scampered 31 yards for six points and quarterback Tristan Porter added the PAT, even though he dropped the ball en route to the goal line and had to scoop it back up before scoring.
Now with a 21-7 lead, the Yellow Jackets struck again when Brown picked off a Blue Devils pass inside the Vernon 30 and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. Silas added the two point conversion this time, and Vernon had a 29-7 edge with 3:41 left to play in the half.
Oneil found paydirt again with 12 seconds left in the half, capping a 5-play drive that started on the Holmes County 40. Porter then connected with Oneil on a short screen pass for the PAT, giving the Yellow Jackets a 37-7 lead at the half.
Just 21 seconds into the third quarter, Vernon scored again when Silas ran 68 yards to paydirt. Bowers’ kick was good and the score was 44-7 — and the mercy rule set the clock to running for the rest of the half and Vernon started playing the rest of the bench.
In the final seconds of the third quarter, Peterson added the final touchdown of the evening on a sweep from inside the Holmes County 10. Bowers’ final kick of the night was good to seal the evening.
Vernon hosts Graceville next Friday, while Holmes County hosts South Walton for their Homecoming game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.