MT. VERNON, Mo–We’re a month into the high school football season.

It’s week four of 1st and 10.

A number of schools enjoy perfect 3-and-0 records and are state ranked.

The secret is to stay that way.

As KOLR 10’s Chris Pinson reports, Mt. Vernon is one of those teams.

“When it comes to drills or getting reps, it’s all business,” said Mountaineer quarterback Gavin Johnston.

The Mount Vernon high school football team is locked in this season.

“We know we have to be technically sound and then we have to play like heck,” said Johnston.

And for good reason, the Mountaineers are undefeated.

Just like last year when they entered week 4 against Rogersville.

Johnston: “You kinda got a target on your back. We came into this game last year 3-0 again, and we lost last year, so I think coaches are really want us to not fall into what happened last year.”

But that loss isn’t what’s fueling the Mountaineers laser like focus in 2023.

It’s the one that ended their season last November.

“I mean we got out to a 21-0, I mean 21-7 lead in the district championship game and we couldn’t hold it. We lost 25-21 in that game, so, we just have a chip on our shoulder knowing that we got that far, we expect to get that far and win the district championship because we haven’t one of those around here in a while,” said Mt. Vernon coach Tom Cox.

That heartbreaking defeat ignited a new motto for Tom Cox’s team

“When we say finish, we mean finish every rep in the weight room, every chore you’ve got at home, finish every homework assignment, finish every tackle, every block, every game. If we do that, we’ve got a chance to be successful,” said Cox.

That commitment, plus the ability to handle 48 minutes of adversity, is what can make all the differnence this time around for the Mountaineers.

“We know that on Friday night there’s gonna be some bad things happening in the game. There always are. It’s how we respond to those that equals a good outcome. If we have a bad response, we’ll have a bad outcome,” said Cox.