If the opening game is any indication, then Mount St. Joseph appears poised for its first winning football season in seven years.
The Gaels defeated visiting Bishop McNamara, 42-7, of Forestville, in Irvington Saturday.
It was Mount St. Joe’s first season-opening victory since 2010.
“We want momentum,” Gaels football coach Blake Henry said. “We don’t want to start off with a loss after a rough year (2-8). It was so important for their confidence level to get this win.”
Mount St. Joe senior running back Nevone McCrimmon, a University of Toledo recruit, rushed for four touchdowns and 136 yards on 10 carries.
The Gaels amassed 351 yards rushing on 45 carries. Alvonte Thomson had 87 yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts.
Blake wanted to see McCrimmon get off to a strong start after he missed four games last year because of a concussion and pulled muscle in his hip.
Against Bishop McNamara, he looked like the back of 2011, when he rushed for 1,382 yards.
“He was running straight ahead with his shoulder down dragging defenders,” Blake said. “That’s why he is a Division I player.”
Thompson got the Gaels rolling with 8:50 remaining in the first quarter, going six yards up the middle to give Mount St. Joe a 6-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for Bishop McNamara to answer.
The Mustangs drove 92 yards in five plays as Ramar Williams and Xavier Williams teamed up for an 85-yard touchdown.
Ramar Williams, who completed 15 of 23 passes for 229 yards, avoided a sack when he shook off the grasp of a defender, scrambled to his right 10 yards and found a wide-open Xavier Williams, who outraced a defender 60 yards to the end zone.
The rest of the game belonged to Mount St. Joe.
The Gaels went ahead, 13-7, early in the second quarter. After Emanuel Patterson intercepted Ramar Williams in the end zone and returned the ball to his own 40, Mount St. Joe scored on its first play.
McCrimmon found the end zone on a 60-yard run working behind an offensive line of Jimmy Moore, Jacob Dahl, Calvin Montgomery, Nick Phelps and JT Uhler.
The Gaels went ahead, 20-7, with five second remaining in the second quarter. McCrimmon broke several tackles on a 35-yard run to cap a six-play, 40-yard drive.
Mount St. Joe pushed its lead to 27-7 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter on McCrimmon’s third rushing touchdown — a 7-yarder.
Thompson, who also plays linebacker, gave the Gaels excellent field position to help set up the score when he sacked Ramar Williams at the Mustangs’ 35 for a 12-yard loss on 4th-and-4.
“We stressed that we want to play four full quarters,” Henry said. “And we did. We were intense the whole time.”