MT. VERNON —
The Rams only turnovers of the game proved costly in a 43-26 loss to Centralia on Friday night.
The Rams and Orphans were in the midst of a back-and-forth game before Centralia took control late. With Centralia up 30-26 midway through the final quarter, Mt. Vernon took possession. On an attempted double handoff, the Rams fumbled, and the Orphans recovered. Three plays later quarterback Rashad Campbell threw a 27-yard touchdown. Campbell played a role in five of Centralia’s six scores.
“For us that was kind of a key point in the game,” Mt. Vernon coach Jared Shaner said.
The Orphans seized a 43-26 lead after intercepting Mt. Vernon quarterback Clayton Reeves on the next possession. The drive ended with a Malik Scott touchdown with about a minute left in the game.
“I think that’s a testament to our kids still playing and playing every down and wanting to play four quarters,” Centralia coach Ray Kauling said.
Mt. Vernon surprised its home fans by wearing orange jerseys instead of the traditional black home uniforms. The jerseys haven’t been worn by the team in more than a decade.
The orange-clad Rams dominated the early portion of the game with long drives that ended with scores, leading to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter. C.J. Lloyd scored both of the Rams early touchdowns and paced the ground game with 126 yards on 15 carries. The Rams opened the game with the ball. Six minutes later Lloyd finished off the drive with a 10-yard run.
Mt. Vernon’s defense forced a Centralia punt, and the Rams’ offense had the ball back. The Orphans offense ran just four plays in the first quarter. Again the Rams used a patient attack and methodically moved the ball against the Orphans. Again, Lloyd finished the drive with a score. This time from four yards away.
“We controlled the clock, which you have to attempt to do against them,” Shaner said. “The issue is when you have (Campbell) on your team, he can run 90 yards in 10 seconds.”
The Rams held the Orphans scoreless until the final minute of the first half. After taking over possession at midfield, Campbell broke free from the Rams’ defense and raced 35 yards into the end zone. Campbell finished with 180 rushing yards and 122 passing yards.
Mt. Vernon’s defense created a pair of turnovers in the first half to help contain the Centralia offense. Travis Mitchell pounced on a fumble late in the first quarter, and Jacobee Marshall picked off a pass in the second quarter.
The second half turned into a score-fest reminiscent of a season ago when the teams combined for 15 touchdowns. The two teams traded touchdowns until Centralia’s defense created the turnovers. Centralia scored on every possession of the second half.
“Unfortunately in the second half, we couldn’t come up with that one big play on either side of the ball to make it a little closer than it was at least, but I’m very proud of how hard our kids competed,” Shaner said.
Mt. Vernon is 0-8 this season, and Centralia improved to 8-0.