BY PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON — The Rams will try to shake off an opening week loss when they travel to Mascoutah on Friday.
Mascoutah opened its season a week ago with a victory over Breese Central 23-8. Mt. Vernon football coach Jared Shaner said the Indians will bring a physical presence to the field Friday.
“They're physical, defensively especially,” Shaner said. “They had some kids that came up and made some nice hits more so than what I remember seeing on film in the past.”
Misikei Thomsen led the Indians rushing attack with 111 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns against Breese Central.
“He plays both sides of the ball,” Shaner said. “He's a running back and then he's stands out on defense too. He's an inside linebacker for them.
“He's put together pretty well, and he runs hard. He runs low, runs behind his pads. And then on the other side of the ball he reads well as a linebacker. And he's around the ball all the time.”
Tim Parks, the Mascoutah quarterback, finished with five completions for 42 yards. Shaner said from looking at the film of the Mascoutah-Central game, most of the completions Parks had were for short yardage, but the Indians did try to go deep several times.
“I think they ran vertical routes and threw the ball deep five or six maybe even seven attempts in week one,” Shaner said. “So they're definitely not afraid to let their receivers run. Their quarterback has a pretty strong arm, it looks like on film.”
One of Park's completions went for a score. He also threw an interception.
Shaner said one of the focuses this week for his team was improvement in the passing game on offense. The Rams behind quarterback Dylan Reeves got off to a good start with a 43 yards completion on the opening offensive play. From there Mt. Vernon completed just two more passes for about 10 yards.
“That was a focus (Tuesday) night at practice. It's going to be a focus (Wednesday),” Shaner said. “It's just carrying out play-action fakes, doing a better job sustaining blocks, allowing Dylan to get out on the perimeter on our play action and giving him even a run-pass option if he doesn't have somebody right in his face.”
Game time temperatures are expected to be a bit cooler than week one when the heat soared close to triple digits. Shaner said hydration was a huge emphasis a week ago and remains important still.
“I know that compared to today (Wednesday), the temperature is going to go back up a little bit,” Shaner said. “So we need to be thinking about (hydration). We definitely don't want to lose guys for plays at a time if you don't have to to something as minor as a cramp.”
Friday's game starts at 7 p.m.