MT. VERNON — Rams coach Jared Shaner might be hard pressed to point out a weakness in his football team's play Friday night at Mascoutah.
“I feel like our defense played their tails off (Friday),” Shaner said. “Our special teams were all solid. I know we missed the first extra point. It was pretty darn close. I think he pulled it a little bit, and our offense just drove the ball pretty methodically down the field.”
The Rams dominated every facet of the matchup.
The victory snapped a 13-game losing streak that stretched back to September 2011 and included a winless campaign a year ago.
One of the biggest keys to the game was the Rams grind-it-out style in the running attack. Mt. Vernon piled up 57 run attempts during the course of the game. Demontez Miller-Gray broke a 40-yard run that later ended with a Rams score, but most of the carries went for three or four yards. Inevitably, Mt. Vernon found themselves in third and short throughout the game. Those situations became a test of wills between the Rams offensive line and the Mascoutah defense. Mt. Vernon won most of the matchups.
The passing attack was also crisp. Dylan Reeves completed seven passes. All went to receiver Doug Gardner. None was bigger than when Mt. Vernon needed points late in the game to put the win away. Mt. Vernon held a 20-7 edge, and Mascoutah had just scored.
“(Mascoutah) put a little drive together and to be honest I just thought to myself, a little mediation, a little prayer whatever, and said 'Hey give these guys confidence,” Shaner said. “We're a good team. We've played well tonight. Let's not let the wheels fall off.”
The Rams took possession and were staring at another third and short scenario. This time instead of plowing the ball up the middle of the line, Reeves lofted a pass to Gardner. Thirty-seven yards later the Rams celebrated a score and sealed the victory.