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Mount Vernon Knights win inaugural game at the renovated Memorial Field

Mount Vernon Knights win inaugural game at the renovated Memorial Field

People began arriving by 11 a.m. - two and a half hours before game-time - to see the renovated field in action. The inaugural game at the new Memorial Field featured a matchup between the Mount Vernon Knights and the Yonkers Force on September 24, 2022. 

Ebony Cooper, a Mount Vernon parent, was there for the warmups as the Knights hit the field around noon.  

“I love the stadium. I graduated in ‘’98 from Mount Vernon High School,” Cooper said, "and it just brings back memories. It’s just full circle for me because I graduated on this field. It’s great to let my kid see something that was a part of me.” 

For students, Memorial Field was always just an idea to them. It was the first game at Memorial Field in 15 years, so most were too young to utilize the field. Now they can see why it was beloved by so many.  

“I’m just so happy. We used to drive by this all the time,” Jacob Sherman, a 10th grade cheerleader at Mount Vernon High School, said. “I feel like, for Mount Vernon, this is a big way of showing this small town that the city can do big things for us. Because we didn’t expect something this great.” 

People on the Yonkers side were also impressed. Parents and students from Yonkers were outnumbered, but they were in the stands supporting their side. The coaches from the Force were also impressed by Memorial Field. Yonkers assistant coach Doug Hogue, who played for Syracuse and in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers, was particularly excited by the atmosphere and scale of the stadium.  

“Walking through the tunnel here is absolutely exciting,” Hogue said. “It’s kind of like having a situation in college where you were in the tunnel and not really knowing what’s on the other side until you actually get a view of the stands. I mean having a high school game at that level is just amazing. There’s nothing like it.” 

Superintendent + Mayor+ County Executive on the field with players and refs for coin toss

The Knights went back into the tunnel before kickoff to go over the game plan, and they came back out for the coin toss. Superintendent Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy, Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and Westchester County Executive George Latimer joined the players on the field for the coin-toss. 

“This is our home,” Patterson-Howard said. “This is the jewel of Mount Vernon.” 

The Knights started the game from their own 32-yard line with a five-yard screen pass. They methodically marched down the field before Zavion Vassel ripped off a long touchdown rush and Mount Vernon went up by 8. Fans enjoyed seeing their Knights get off to a fast start and had memories of old games at Memorial Field. 

“Yeah, it brings back a lot of memories,” said John Lockett, a Mount Vernon resident. “It’s not like I remember it, but it’s good to see the people back out again, and it is going to get even better. But there are a lot of people out here, that is for sure.” The stadium was packed almost all the way to its 3,900-person capacity. 

“Mount Vernon all the way,” Daryl Person, 27, said, “The field needed the work, and I’m just so glad that they brought it back.” 

The Yonkers Force answered the Knights fast start with a long drive of their own to tie the game 8-8. The Knights started the next drive off with a few rushes before Knights quarterback Isiah Dedier uncorked a long pass to Faishaun Boyd for a touchdown. The Knights took a 16-8 lead. 

On the next drive, Karmiel Yitzchak made a fourth-down sack to turn the ball over at midfield. Jaden Hamilton automatically ripped off a 15-yard rush. They handed it back to him for another 10, and then Dedier and Boyd connected for their second touchdown on a play-action pass to go up 24-8. 

Now on the defensive side, Vassel got a big sack to set up the Force with a third and long on their own side of the field with 5:43 left in the half. The Knights got the stop, forced the punt and returned it to the Yonkers 45. They started to drive, but a botched lateral toss landed right in the defender’s hands. He ran it down the field for what looked like a touchdown, but Jaiden Hamilton showed tremendous effort and speed to bring him down inside the five-yard line. The Force still managed to score and make it a 24-16 game. 

Vassel ended the next drive with a 50-plus yard touchdown run and Jaden Dempsey converted the two-point conversion to push the lead back to 16. The half ended at 32-16. 

Music played on the loudspeaker at the half as players went back through the tunnel. The cheerleaders made their way to the middle of the field for their halftime show.  

Cheerleaders on the sideline

Fans were buzzing as they watched the halftime show and made their way to concessions. Markita Wade, sister of Knights Head Coach Mark Murray, was proud of her brother and excited to be back at Memorial Field.  

“It feels good to be back in this stadium. This is great for Mount Vernon,” Wade said, “Memorial Field is the heart of Mount Vernon. And this will definitely bring a sense of community back to Mount Vernon. The heart of Mount Vernon is beating again, and Mount Vernon is back. There’s nothing like a football game to get the camaraderie back in the people.” 

Keisha Esson, Zavion Vassel’s mom, celebrated her son’s two touchdowns, including the first touchdown at the renovated Memorial Field.  

“I am super proud of all these boys, but I’m extra excited for my son. I prayed real hard,” Esson said, “and I kid you not I really prayed that he would score a touchdown and do a lot of runs today and it happened. So, I’m super excited for the Mount Vernon Knights, and I am very excited that the boys were able to play their first home game here.” 

The second half was more of a defensive showing. The Knights stayed at 32, and the Force managed to score another 8. The two teams punted back and forth for much of the remainder of the game. Jarid Collins snagged a clutch interception as the Force were driving, and then the Knights ran out the clock to get their second win of the season. 

Faishaun Boyd, who was arguably the game's MVP next to Vassel, said his touchdowns felt extra special today being some of the first at the new field. 

“Hearing all the things from people that used to play at this field, the great memories and all that, how fun it is and how exciting it is to play on the field," Boyd said. "It felt good to score a touchdown here and leave my mark on this field.” 

The Knights gathered around the field to celebrate their first win at Memorial Field, and the fans left the stadium happy with the result of the game and their new field.  

Players and coaches celebrating on the field.


Danielle Browne

Danielle R. Browne, Esq., founding attorney of the Browne Firm PLLC and city councilperson for the City of Mount Vernon, graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 2006. She attended Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was the captain of the women’s basketball team, and received her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. Since then, she has started her own law firm and made her impact on her hometown as a city councilperson.

Dr. Smith receiving proclamation.

Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith received a proclamation from New York State Senator Jamal Bailey, recognizing her for her exemplary service to the community and the State of New York for Women’s History Month on Friday, April 5, 2024. Nakia Hiland, director of Safe Place for Our Girls, from the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau and Unique Groom, community liaison for Jamal Bailey presented the proclamation to Dr. Smith.  

Logo for news post

Dr. K. Veronica Smith, Acting Superintendent of Schools: 

Greetings MVCSD Community,

At approximately 10:23 a.m., there was a 4.8 magnitude earthquake in New Jersey. The aftershocks were felt throughout the Tri-State area. Several of our school buildings felt the tremors, which lasted for less than 30 seconds.

There have been no reports of staff or student injuries due to this incident. As a precaution, we will have indoor activities for our students for the remainder of the day. We will keep you updated on any developments on this matter if necessary.

Students strapping instructor onto board

Mount Vernon City School District students, equipped with medical supplies, administered care to mannequins during their emergency medical technician (EMT) training course at Mount Vernon High School on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department added a new EMT program earlier in the school year, and classes began in December. 

Dr. Waterman Superintendent for a Day

A new, but familiar, face occupied the Mount Vernon City School District superintendent’s desk on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Dr. Crystal Waterman, Edward Williams School principal, served as the superintendent for the day to begin Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith’s “Superintendent for a Day,” series. Dr. Smith served as the principal at Edward Williams.