Mt. Vernon Register-News

Press Box Ramblings

September 23, 2010

Prep football Friday night previews, picks

MT. VERNON — Thoughts and notes from this week of are H.S. football action. The matchups for area conferences tomorrow:

Marion (4-0) at Mt. Vernon (0-4) — Of course, the matchup most readers are most keen on. The Wildcats are, so far, the class of the South 7. They're 4-0 and have given up 36 fewer points than anyone in the conference. They're also second in scoring, with an average of almost 33 points per game. The Rams, on the other hand, are far and away at the bottom of the conference. They haven't won a game this season and are coming off their worst loss of the season, a 48-6 thrasing at the hands of Althoff at J.D. Sheilds Memorial Stadium.

The storylines so far this year for Mt. Vernon have been missed opportunies. The Rams have an unfortunate propensity for turnovers at the wrong times — for example, Kevon Fortney's freak fubmle at the five-yard line last week that killed what would have been a touchdown.

But say one thing for the Rams, they don't shy away from tough competition. Mt. Vernon leads the South 7 in playoff points with 23 — meaning they've had far and away the toughest schedule this year. Even if the Rams were 4-0 this season, they'd still lead the conference in strength of schedule.

Marion, on the other hand, doesn't have that pedigree. The Wildcats have yet to play a team with a winning record, and two of their wins came against Harrisburg (enrollment 608) and Cahokia (only one spot above Mt. Venron in the conference standings, with a 1-3 record and only 74 points scored this season).  It could be that some of Marion's gaudy numbers are inflated, but wether that matters enough for the Rams to get a win is yet to be determined.

Bottom line: Marion's defense is strong, and the Rams have struggled to score so far this season. If MVTHS can get together a turnover-free game, they might have a chance, but as that hasn't happened yet, expect a fumble or a pick to set Marion up for an early score that puts them in control.

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