MOUNT HEALTHY — Israel Bradford rushed for 162 yards and four touchdowns, and Mount Healthy held Ross scoreless in the second half on its way to a 40-14 victory on Saturday night.
The Rams slip to 0-2 for the first time since 2017 when they went 1-9. The Owls move to 2-0 for the first time since 2016 when they went 8-3.
Mount Healthy forced six fumbles — and recovered four of them — including a 24-yard recovery TD by Nashoun Crittendon that iced it in the fourth quarter. The score board operator was advised to stop keeping the time in the first half because of miscommunication between the referees and the booth. The contest was moved from Friday to Saturday due to excessive heat. On top of that, the game lasted 2 hours, 40 minutes.
“It was a really weird game — from kickoff to the end,” Ross coach Kenyon Commins said. “But when you start pointing those things out, it’s like you’re making excuses. I felt like we were making excuses before we even seen things happen.
“What’s the difference for them, though? They were just mentally better than us, and that was completely obvious.”
Ross was outgained in total yards 339-331 but had 10 more first downs (19-9) than Mount Healthy. Bradford scored on touchdown runs of 3, 17, 65 and 1 yards.
“Just like I was telling the team — we are our own worst enemy,” Mount Healthy second-year coach Jordan Stevens said. “When we self-sabotage and become our own worst enemy — and you saw that tonight — it becomes the difference of how we played in the first half than in the second half.”
Unofficially, the Owls had eight penalties, many from unsportsmanlike conduct to sideline infractions.
“We just fly around,” Stevens said of his defense’s ability to hold Ross scoreless in the second half. “I think we’re doing a lot better job of getting to the ball now. We become more disciplined.”
Riley Caldwell and Emory Severance rushed for a combined 296 yards and two scores for the Rams, who host Northwest on Friday. Mount Healthy travels to Wilmington.