Mount Vernon was not supposed to be this good. The Mountaineers graduated all but five starters from the 2017 Class 3 runner-up team. But here they are, 6-1, ready for another run into November.
“We graduated 10 really good football players last year, so we were kind of an unknown,” Head Coach Tom Cox said. “We’re probably still an unknown. Guys have just been finding a way.”
Coach Cox had to find a way to replace almost every skill position on offense. He started by slotting All-State senior linebacker Will Boswell at running back, then doing a little recruiting.
“We had a ton of weapons come out that haven’t played or didn’t play last year,” Boswell said.
Those weapons include Mountaineer basketball players Cale Miller and Kelly Vaughn, starting receivers who had not played football since eighth grade.
“All the guys around me gave me confidence and helped me out every day,” Vaughn said. “It’s really comforting knowing all those guys had my back out there.”
Vaughn returned to the gridiron thanks to persistent recruiting from his All-State classmate.
“Me and Will had the same class, and every day last year, he just kept pounding on me to play. I finally just gave in, pretty much,” Vaughn said.
Boswell made sure Vaughn and Miller showed up this season.
“One day this summer, I was like, ‘Kelly, are you gonna play? We’re gonna come to your house, drag you out of bed, and you’re coming to football.’ He was like, ‘Okay.'”
Miller and Vaughn were in the bleachers when Mount Vernon clinched a trip to the Class 3 championship game 11 months ago.
“I ask them quite a bit, ‘Do you wish you would have played last year, or any other years?’ Every one of them say yes,” Boswell said.
They did not want to miss their last chance to bring home their school’s first state championship.