By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
The Rams football team gets another crack at a quarterback who hurt them a season ago.
Reece Metcalf passed for 300 yards and three touchdowns last year as Mt. Carmel rocked the Rams 42-7.
“He's a very good quarterback,” Mt. Vernon coach Jared Shaner said. “We've seen several good ones throughout the year, and he's just kind of another one in the same realm as those other kids we've seen from our conference schools.”
This season Metcalf is back as a senior, and the Golden Aces enter the season 8-0, trying to finish off an unbeaten regular season. Mt. Carmel has already qualified for the playoffs, extending its consecutive postseason streak to eight years under coach Darren Peach.
“I hope we can come out and compete with them and just give ourselves a chance not make a lot of mistakes and just give ourselves a chance to be in the game,” Shaner said.
The Rams are trying to notch their sixth win of the season and clinch an automatic playoff berth on senior night.
“This week I think we have just as much to play for,” Shaner said. “We're at home, potentially for the last time. We have our senior night. We're playing a team that's 8-0.
“I think there's a lot to play for, and our kids understand that.”
Shaner said the Golden Aces defense will challenge the Rams offensive attack. He added Mt. Carmel has stymied most opposing offenses, and Friday's matchup could come down to a clash of strengths.
“They're not giving up a whole lot of points, and they don't give up a lot on the ground,” Shaner said. “I think that's been a strength of ours this year so it's going to be a battle. I hope our kids are ready. I think they're going to be, but it will be a test of wills, I guess. We want to run it, and they've had a lot of success stopping the run so I guess we'll see how that plays out on Friday night.”
The Rams have used a potent running game this season to control the clock and wear down defenses. They've used several running backs effectively within the offense. Against Centralia, Demontez Miller-Gray ripped off 157 yards to lead the Rams rushers. He also gouged the Orphans in the passing game.
Centralia crowded the line of scrimmage to start the second half, and quarterback Dylan Reeves hit Miller-Gray for a short completion over the middle that turned into a 50-yard touchdown.
Friday's game starts at 7 p.m.