MT. JULIET- Friday night's contest between the Gallatin Green Wave and Mt. Juliet Golden Bears was billed as a showdown between two unbeatens, but turned out to be a one-sided affair. Mt. Juliet dominated every aspect of the game, coasting to a 37-0 victory over the Green Wave.
"We're disappointed," Gallatin head coach Mark Williams said. "Mt. Juliet is a good team, but we are better than 37-0. We didn't play our best football tonight - that was obvious."
The Golden Bears did not waste any time taking the lead. A 30-yard pass from Cody Glass to Aidan Raines set up a 5-yard touchdown scamper by Marcello Watson on the opening drive of the game.
On Gallatin's second drive, quarterback Collin Minor was picked off by Air Force commit Jeramiah Birdsong, who finished the play with a 70-yard touchdown return to put Mt. Juliet up 13-0. Williams then decided to go with Ander Sloan at quarterback for a majority of the rest of the game.
"We were looking for a spark," Williams said of the change. "(Minor and Sloan) are both competitors - we were just looking for something to get us going. They're great friends and they each want the best for the team."
The change at signal caller did little to alter the outcome, as Mt. Juliet overpowered Gallatin in the trenches. Mt. Juliet's defensive line routinely gave Sloan trouble while the Golden Bear offense created plenty of time and space for its playmakers.
Other than a few long catches by Ethan Green, the Gallatin attack was completely stymied by the Golden Bear defense, which has yet to allow a single point this season. The Green Wave finished with just 57 yards on the ground and 124 yards of total offense.
"I was disappointed with our physicality," Williams said. "We take pride in being a physical ballclub, but that didn't happen tonight. We've got to get back to playing our brand of football."
One positive for the Green Wave was the return of Ladarius Stewart, who left last week's game against Hillsboro with a neck injury. Stewart was banged up again on Friday, but eventually returned to action in the second half.
"It was good to see (Stewart) get back in there and play," Williams said. "He'll get better as the weeks go on. We've just got to take care of some nagging injuries."
Mt. Juliet held a 23-0 advantage at halftime and piled on 14 insurance points in the second half. Raines had a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter and later added a 17-yard score in the third, before Alvin Mixon rounded out the scoring with a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
Gallatin (3-1) will look to get back on track hosting Hillwood (1-2) on Friday. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. at Calvin Short Field.
"We've got to make it happen," Williams said. "We've got to correct our mistakes and bounce back next week."