Mount Vernon/Plankinton rolls Blackhawks in season debut
Reed Rus has a hand in all 5 Titan touchdowns
MOUNT VERNON, S.D. — It was a dominant first showing for the Mount Vernon/Plankinton defense as well as quarterback Reed Rus on Friday night.
With the defense providing a shutout until the final moments and Rus powering the offense, MVP ran out to a big lead and never looked back, defeating Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central, 37-8, at the Titans’ Heroes Field.
Experience provided a valuable edge for the Titans, who controlled the game after a back-and-forth first quarter, according to coach Brent Olson.
“They have a really young team, they’re replacing a lot of starters from last year,” Olson explained. “That team is going to be a heck of a lot better five, six games down the road. We’re pretty fortunate we’re getting them now instead of later.”
Rus outgained the Blackhawks offense on his own, accounting for 259 yards — 165 passing and 94 rushing — and had a hand in all five Titan touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Titans’ defense limited WWSSC to 213 total yards, with nearly two-thirds coming after halftime.
But the game didn’t start with the Titans dominating from the opening kick. A scoreless first quarter looked like an early sign the teams could be headed for a near-repeat of the 2021 regular-season finale, a game MVP won, 6-0.
After an empty first 14 minutes, the Titans turned to Rus in a short-yardage situation nearing the red zone. The senior delivered in a big way, losing a shoe on the way to a 25-yard score that put MVP up 8-0 after a successful two-point conversion. Five minutes later it was Rus again, this time from 45 yards out, to make it 14-0.
Then, shortly before half, the teams exchanged turnovers. An MVP fumble on the first play following a punt set the Blackhawks up just outside the red zone, but after just two plays, Chris Mayer intercepted a Holden Havlik pass, setting up a two-minute drive that was capped by Rus’ third rushing score from 9 yards out.
“Once we got things sorted out a little bit, I think we were a little bigger and older than them and we were able to lean on ‘em,” Olson said. “Then once we got them worn down, those 5-yard gains started turning into 10 and 15 yards and opened it up.”
The second half provided some more of the same for the Titans. A touchdown pass from Rus to Meyer covering 65 yards in the third quarter pushed the lead to 30 points, with another 61-yard scoring connection coming in the fourth. The scoring plays were Mayer’s only two catches of the night, and were half of Rus’ completion total, as he went 4-of-5 for an average of more than 41 yards per completion.
Havlik, who was on Kimball/White Lake’s roster as a freshman last season, finished off a late drive with a 2-yard scoring plunge for the Blackhawks’ lone score.
For the game, Havlik was 8-of-19 for 47 yards through the air and added 43 yards on the ground. Camden Jost was WWSSC’s leading rusher, gaining 63 yards on 15 carries, while also totaling a team-best five tackles on defense.
MVP (1-0) heads north for a matchup with Miller/Highmore-Harrold on Aug. 26, while WWSSC (0-1) meets up with Jim River in Scotland on Aug. 26.