The Aurora Houn Dawgs face their Big 8 Conference East and Class 3, District 6 rival Mount Vernon at Mountaineer Stadium on Friday night.
The Houn Dawgs are 1-3 on the season after their 21-18 loss to Logan-Rogersville in Week 4, while the Mountaineers are unbeaten after outscoring their first four opponents 113-56.
Last week, Aurora senior quarterback Jay Lee completed 6 of 13 passes for 93 yards and rushed for 72 yards on 18 carries, his night highlighted by a 32-yard run.
The Houn Dawgs generated over 300 yards of total offense last week, with 239 yards rushing on 46 carries led by Lee. Three more ball carriers gained at least 45 yards: Ian Jackson 50 yards and one touchdown on three carries, Kohl Rohlman 48 yards and one TD on eight carries, and Sims 46 yards on 10 carries. Cameron Savage rounded out the ground pound with 23 yards on seven carries.
Sims caught three passes for 61 yards and Daunte Floyd, Rohlman, and Jacob Jordan each grabbed passes from Lee.
Caleb Wittenborn and Savage each led the defense with eight tackles. Connor Shaw came through with a quarterback sack, Felix Barrientos and Clayton Cordova shared a sack, and Ryan Clark recorded a pair of hurries. Mason Patterson and Sims had pass deflections.
On the season, Lee has rushed for 212 yards and two scores and passed for 342 more yards and one more TD. Rohlman totaled 198 yards and three scores on 28 carries, Jackson 169 yards on 27 carries, and Sims 163 yards on 30 carries. The Houn Dawgs have averaged five yards per carry with that quartet responsible for the vast majority of the numbers.
Sims leads the way with seven receptions for 118 yards and Wittenborn proved responsible for the only Houn Dawg receiving touchdown of the season thus far.
Defensively, Jackson leads the Houn Dawgs with 34 tackles (17 solo, 17 assist) and eight tackles for loss. Jackson made 17 stops in the 18-13 win against East Newton in Week 2.
The Houn Dawgs have a pair of fumble recoveries and a pair of Lee interceptions.
Mount Vernon blanked Reeds Spring 30-0 last week, and the Mountaineers have also won a pair of close games this season, 22-21 against Monett and 18-13 against Marshfield.
The Mountaineers, under head coach Tom Cox, reached the Class 3 semifinals last season and the Class 3 championship game two seasons ago.
The Mountaineers graduated standout running back and linebacker Will Boswell — 1,567 yards and 21 touchdowns offensively and 164 tackles defensively.
They do return senior quarterback Zach Jones and the Mountaineers are an exception to the rule in the Big 8 Conference with their offense more balanced with the run and the pass.
Two weeks ago, though, senior running back Zach Bowman and then his replacement Sam Burks left the Marshfield game with injuries (Bowman knee, Burks ankle).
Jagen Prescott made an interception to preserve the win over Marshfield and in the season opener against Monett, Mount Vernon trailed conference and district rival Monett 21-14 but the Mountaineers drove 69 yards in 81 seconds and Jones hit Rafe Darter for a touchdown and then Cale Miller for the conversion and the victory.
Mount Vernon comes in at No. 4 in the latest Class 3 rankings.
WEEK 5 GAMES
Aurora at Mount Vernon
Branson at Joplin
Diamond at Marionville
East Newton at Cassville
Lockwood at Pleasant Hope
Logan-Rogersville at Monett
Marshfield at Hollister
McDonald County at Nevada
Miller at Ash Grove
Nixa at Neosho
Ozark at Carl Junction
Pierce City at Forsyth
Reeds Spring at Springfield Catholic
Sarcoxie at Greenfield
Seneca at Lamar
Webb City at Carthage
Willard at Republic