MT. VERNON —
The Rams football team will exhibit an influx of youth as it takes the field this season.
Several sophomores are expected to contribute for Mt. Vernon this season starting with a road test at three-time defending state champion Rochester on Friday night.
“That competition, we talk about it every day, is definitely healthy for our team and makes guys work and pay attention to detail and give great effort,” Mt. Vernon football coach Jared Shaner said.
A season ago as freshmen the incoming sophomores never tasted defeat. They enter a varsity squad that never experienced victory a season ago. Mt. Vernon lost all nine of its games during the course of the regular season. The Rams struggled on both sides of the ball a season ago and were outscored 324-142.
Despite the lopsided scoring totals, the Rams still created chances for victories. The closest opportunities all came against South 7 Conference squads.
Mt. Vernon's best chance came in week five of the season against Marion. The Rams were down a point and had a final drive to win the game but came up short. Returning running back C.J. Lloyd had three rushing touchdowns in the game.
The Rams also pushed Carbondale and arch rival Centralia. Mt. Vernon held 14-0 leads in both games before eventually losing.
The bulk of Mt. Vernon's returning experience is on the offensive end, although the Rams will trot out a newcomer at the quarterback position. Dylan Reeves takes over the signal calling as a junior. His older brother Clayton was a two-year veteran for the Rams and started every game.
“(Dylan's) done a good job for us this summer,” Shaner said. “(He's) very committed. He comes to everything, works hard, is in great shape. He has improved his skill set this summer.”