BY PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
The Rams will try to use the momentum they gained after a win at Mascoutah in Friday's matchup with Triad.
“I think the kids had a little bit more energy and excitement these first couple days,” Mt. Vernon football coach Jared Shaner said.
The Knights use an option running attack almost exclusively. Triad has attempted just two passes in two loses to Mattoon and Collinsville so far this season.
“They do what they do so well,” Shaner said. “You have to be really disciplined, and it takes one mistake for somebody tackling a guy that they're not assigned to and that leaves somebody else wide open.”
Jason Barbour led the Knights offense in the opener. He was the leading rusher from his quarterback position and racked up 192 yards on the ground. He left the Collinsville loss with an ankle sprain. Shaner said he doesn't know Barbour's status for Friday night.
“I don't know how severe, obviously you can watch the film, and I've seen it,” Shaner said. “The camera shuts off pretty quickly, but you can tell he's in some pain.”
Shaner added that their system didn't appear to change much without Barbour in the game. The focus remains on the run game.
“I don't see them adjusting a lot what they do even if (Barbour) doesn't get to play,” Shaner said.
Mt. Vernon controlled last week's game at Mascoutah, but Shaner said there are still areas he wants to see polished. The Rams had a fumble near the goaline and several false start penalties. He added the first down penalties put his offense in a difficult situation at times.
“We're not designed for first and 15,” Shaner said. “I'm just looking forward to that game when we can eliminate those mental mistakes and get ourselves every drive the best opportunity to move the ball and score.”
Another focus for the Rams offense is improving their blocking on the perimeter so running backs can break defensive containment to the outside.
“I feel like I know we're capable of putting together a better game offensively,” Shaner said. “We did some good things last week, but I just want to do them more consistently.”
The Rams will get a couple of personnel additions against Triad. Jacobee Marshall returns from a two-game suspension. Marshall is expected to give the Rams a boost at the wide receiver along with the secondary. C.J. Lloyd has also missed the opening two weeks of the season with an injury. Last season he contributed to the Rams on kick returns and at running back.
Friday's home game starts at 7 p.m.