Quarterback Fonnae Webb, sporting a white beanie and sea green sunglasses, strolled around the sideline during the second half of Friday’s playoff game against Justice.
Running back Jordyn Reid carried a pair of “money bags” while enjoying watching the Majors’ reserves receive some playing time.
It was a relaxed final 24 minutes for Mount Vernon during the program’s first home playoff game since 2008.
Make no mistake, however. The Majors had earned it.
Webb and Reid scored a combined four touchdowns, a dominant defense shut out Justice in the first half and the No. 2-seed Mount Vernon football team cruised to a 41-13 victory over the No. 7 Wolves in the opening round of the Region C playoffs.
It was Mount Vernon’s first playoff victory in more than a decade. The Majors’ last postseason win came in 2008, when they defeated Washington-Lee (now Washington-Liberty).
“I’m honored,” said Mount Vernon junior linebacker Robert Overbey, the Gunston District Defensive Player of the Year. “I feel real honored. Especially with my brothers, we’re going crazy. We’re not done yet.”
Mount Vernon extended its win streak to 10 games and improved its record to 10-1. The Majors will host No. 3 Lake Braddock in the semifinals this week. The Bruins defeated No. 6 Robinson on Friday.
Against Justice, Mount Vernon built a 41-0 halftime lead and then rested some of its key players in the second half.
Making their fourth straight postseason appearance under head coach Monty Fritts, the Majors vowed to snap a streak of three consecutive first-round losses. Mount Vernon wasted little time taking control, building a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
“For a lot of those guys, it’s been four years of work, telling them that we could get to this point,” said Fritts, who was voted 2019 Gunston District Coach of the Year. “I think last year was the year we thought we could have done a little bit better [but] just didn’t play well enough at Hayfield to pull it off. I think it motivated us in the offseason. I think the best thing for this year is we lost at Hayfield last year. That was a game that we should have won and we found a way to lose and it really motivated us in the offseason to kind of take the next step and get better and I think you see that tonight.
“Justice is not an awful football team, but we made them look pretty bad, and I think a lot of that has to do with everything the kids have done in the past four years.”
Mount Vernon’s stellar first half started with the defense forcing a three-and-out, including a sack on the second play from scrimmage by lineman Elijah Rucker.
Following a Justice punt, Mount Vernon took over on the Wolves 47-yard line and proceeded to score on all seven of its first half possessions.
Webb completed 6 of 14 pass attempts for 74 yards and a touchdown. He also scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground, including a 66-yard run during which he sprinted past defenders to give the Majors a 38-0 lead with 3:59 remaining in the second quarter.
“The O-line picked up everybody,” Webb said, “the middle linebacker blitzed and Rucker KO’d him, and [there was a] block on the backside, so it made it easier and I outran everybody else.”
How did Webb describe the second-half experience on the sideline?
“It’s been happening all season,” Webb said. “This being a playoff game made it better, watching everybody laugh, joke around and stuff.”
Webb finished with 133 rushing yards on five carries.
“I definitely think he ran the ball really well,” Fritts said. “I think he’s going to be upset with himself because he missed some throws early – some easy throws that we’ll have to make next week. Fonnae’s just a fun kid to coach … I think one of his touchdowns, it kind of got busted up and he just races everybody to the sideline. It makes me look good and it makes us look good. It’s really fun to coach a kid like that. I’m excited to see him versus Braddock next week.”
While Webb is a key playmaker, the Majors didn’t miss a beat when their senior signal caller limped to the sideline with a right ankle injury early in the second quarter. On the following play, junior Nick Poreda found Reid for a 21-yard touchdown pass, extending Mount Vernon’s lead to 28-0.
Poreda finished 5-of-5 for 68 yards.
“I feel like we’re pretty loaded at quarterback,” Fritts said. “We’re very lucky to have (Poreda). I think Nick starts at most places in the area. To have a kid that has grown with us as a freshman, sophomore, now as a junior, I think we’re really excited about what he’s going to be able to do next year with the offense. To have somebody who can come in when Fonnae runs the ball and needs a little break really helps us and I think makes defenses prepare for multiple kinds of kids, which I’m sure they don’t like to do.”
Reid caught five passes for 62 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The senior scored the game’s first points when he caught a pass from Webb near the Mount Vernon sideline and took off for a 17-yard touchdown.
Reid said he liked watching his teammates during the second half.
“It’s really good because, for me, I’ve played varsity all four years, so I don’t really get to watch a varsity game,” Reid said. “Getting to watch my brother (running back Mekhi Robinson) and all the young guys get reps, it’s actually nice to sit back and watch somebody play for once.”
What about the bags?
“These things right here?” Reid said about the bags with dollar signs he was holding. “Man, these are something special. (If you get a) pick-6, interception, touchdown, you block for the touchdown, we share them. You do a big thing on the team, you get the money bag.”
Senior running back Daniel Danso carried 14 times for 150 yards and a touchdown for the Majors.
Senior receiver Kyle Clark caught four passes for 48 yards.
Senior kicker Sam Renzi made field goals of 45 and 25 yards, respectively.
“I’m proud,” Fritts said. “We had a lot of alumni on the sideline. A lot of people came in the locker room before the game just to kind of congratulate the kids, guys who were on the ’96, ’97, ’98 district championship teams. It’s been really cool for me, as not-a-Mount Vernon-guy, to come and see the school start to have some school spirit, because when I first got here, I think everybody’s morale was a little down and I think football has kind of helped push some of that back up, and that’s been really cool to see.”
Next up for Mount Vernon is a matchup with Lake Braddock (9-2). The Bruins’ only losses are against Westfield and South County, the undefeated No. 1 seeds in Region D and Region C, respectfully.
“I think it’s going to be a dog fight,” Fritts said. “They have some really good players. I think their calling card is their offense, and our calling card is our defense. I’m going to take our defense all day. I think it’s a good matchup for us. If we can hold on to the football and play smart, I really like the matchup for us.”