FROSTBURG, Md. – John Marshall coach Rick Goodrich let senior standout Dereck Hess know early in the week that he would be lining up at tailback going forward. Mountain Ridge never saw it coming. Hess carried 35 times for 183 yards and four touchdowns and the Monarchs (1-1) jumped out 28-0 in the first half before settling for a 34-21 victory Friday night at Miners’ Stadium.
“Their coaching staff made a nice adjustment moving No. 12 (Hess) into the backfield because he is the best athlete on the field,” Mountain Ridge (0-1) coach Ryan Patterson said. “We told our kids all week he would be the best athlete on the field and we didn’t have the speed to run with him. “Once he broke through the second level we didn’t have anyone to catch him. He’s a great player.” The defense did its part, as well. Hunter Temple recovered a pair of fumbles, one of which he took back 37 yards for a touchdown. He also recorded a pair of sacks and was a general nuisance for the Miners. “He’s worked so hard in the offseason to get where he’s at,” Goodrich said of Temple. “He was always in the weight room and he never takes a play off in practice. “He deserves everything he’s getting.”
After trailing 28-0, the Miners cut the deficit to 28-21 in the third quarter as Bryson Sivie capped a 10-play, 59-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run at 7:26 of the third quarter. The Monarchs responded by marching to the Mountain Ridge 25, but Jordan Wood’s fourth-and-15 pass to Justin Frohnapfel came up a yard shy of the first down. It didn’t matter because the defense held and Brandon Knight blocked the ensuing Miners punt, giving JM the ball at the Miners 20.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hess juked and jived his way into the end zone from 10 yards out. “He’s got great vision and great speed,” Goodrich said. “Once he sees the hole he gets to it in a hurry. “I don’t know what he finished with (yardage-wise), but he had a great game.” Mountain Ridge responded by driving to the JM 40 before Jace Boggs stepped in front of a Kory Hunter pass. The Monarchs converted a second-and-34 when Bailey Williams surprised the defense with a 50-yard gain on a fullback dive. The drive eventually stalled, but it ate up more than three minutes. “We got back to our style of football and our line did a great job,” Goodrich said. “We told the kids all week that the more physical team was going to win this game. “We were the most physical and they were a good team.”
Wood finished 6 of 11 for 94 yards, with Frohnapfel hauling in five passes for 67 yards. Tristan Pinto led the Miners with 151 yards rushing on 26 carries. The Monarchs wasted little time getting down to business. They took the opening kickoff and marched 53 yards in five plays. Hess got running early, taking it in from 19 to make it 6-0 after the 2-point conversion failed. Then the JM defense took full control, namely Temple. He picked up a Mountain Ridge fumble and ran it back 37 yards, with Hess taking in the 2-pointer for a 14-0 advantage. On the next Mountain Ridge possession, Temple picked up another loose ball, though the Monarchs failed to capitalize on that turnover. “It’s very disappointing to start the season that way, in a big hole,” Patterson said. “I’m proud of the way our kids fought back. “They had the fumble they returned for the touchdown and it’s very difficult to come back with a deficit that big.”
Williams grabbed the third Miners turnover of the first half – all fumbles – to put JM back in great field position at the 25. After a 5-yard penalty, Hess raced 30 yards into the end zone and the try for two failed once again. Mountain Ridge went three-and-out and the Monarchs offense started ripping off chunks of yardage. Hess has a pair of 28-yard runs, including one where he nearly shook a defender out of his cleats, and Wood connected with Frohnapfel for 10 yards. Hess finished it off from the 12 to make it 28-0 after Wood and Frohnapfel teamed again on the 2-point try. “Offensively I don’t feel like they stopped us all night, truthfully,” Goodrich said. “We stopped ourselves. “It shows a lot of maturity by our kids to bounce back from last week’s performance.” The Miners finally got their offense on track as senior running back Tristan Pinto ran in from 3 and Tre Smith hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Hunter with 40 seconds left in the first half, winning a jump-ball battle on a third-and-16 play.