By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
The Rams football team will try to contain a potentially explosive Cahokia offense Friday night.
Cahokia (2-4) hosts Mt. Vernon (4-2) fresh off a 38-6 stomping of Centralia.
“They've got some fast kids on offense, some athletic kids,” Mt. Vernon coach Jared Shaner said. “You can do a lot of things right on a defensive play and still end up giving up a long run if one or two guys don't do their job.”
The Comanches use a run first attack. A week ago Keenan Hogan piled up 171 yards on the ground against Centralia. Robert Mosby added 95 yards.
“It's a fullback, tailback-type offense, and those guys are going to get a majority of their carries,” Shaner said.
On offense, Shaner said the Rams will focus on consuming clock and keeping Cahokia's offense off the field. Mt. Vernon has used a balanced run game throughout the season. A week ago against Carbondale the Rams used a trio of runners to hammer away at the Terriers defense.
Demontez Miller-Gray led the Rams with 106 yards. Drew Hester finished with 92 yards, and Dylan Reeves added 81.
“We need to keep the ball away from them,” Shaner said. “Hopefully, we can continue to have an effective running game and not be taken out of what we want to do on offense.”
The Comanches opened the season with three straight loses but have rallied to win two of three games in conference play.
“Obviously they started with some tough non-conference games,” Shaner said. “They played O'Fallon and just some good schools, but I think something else is going on and that's (that) they are playing better right now.”
This week also could mark a separation at the top of the South Seven Conference. Mt. Vernon, Cahokia and Marion are all clumped together in a battle for the title. Each team enters the week at 2-1. Marion faces Centralia in its Friday matchup.
Mt. Vernon received mixed injury news recently. Braden Fitzjerrells remains out with a back injury that will keep him sidelined for two more weeks.
Drew Hester injured his foot against Carbondale. Shaner said the sophomore was having an X-ray conducted Wednesday to determine if it was broken or not. Mt. Vernon will get C.J. Lloyd back at full strength. The senior was limited to kicking duties only a week ago but will return to running the ball.
“(Lloyd) seems to be running and cutting and planting fine,” Shaner said. “It will be a nice little lift if Drew's not 100 percent to have C.J. back.”
Friday's game starts at 7 p.m.