MT. VERNON — A nice week five for the South 7, with one big ole' shakeup coming down the wire.
First and foremost, the Rams dropped another contest to Marion to fall to 0-5 on the season. And while MVTHS managed a season-high 20 points in that game, they're still a far cry from a win.
But the Rams are coming down the home stretch of their season — and their best chance to avoid a winless season.
The remaining three conference opponents are Carbondale, Cahokia, and Centralia. Those three are the most beatable opponents in the South 7 — outside of Mt. Vernon. Both Centralia and Cahokia are 2-3, and the Comanches just humbled Carbondale last week.
Rams head coach Dan Mings said he was tired of facing elite running backs. Marion's Shaquille Ivy was just the latest back to torch the Mt. Vernon defense in week five, rushing for three touchdowns and more than 120 yards. That's one week after Althoff's backfield combined for almost 300 rushing yards in a 48-6 win.
And while he ground game is the backbone of the South 7, the Rams have struggled to find a go-to running back. So far this season, the running back spot has been by committee, but only quarterback Blake Deaton has found the end zone.
That changed last Friday when both Mario Thompson and Mike Bryant found paydirt. While both scores came later in the game after Marion had subbed most of its starters, the Rams hope they have some things to build upon.
Elsewhere in the South 7, Cahokia stunned Carbondale 24-17 and Althoff edged Centralia 35-33. At this point, it's Marion firmly atop the standings baring a total collapse, and Mt. Vernon firmly at the bottom of the conference unless the Rams win out.
Cahokia, Carbondale, Centralia and Althoff are all middling around with a shot at second place, but somebody has to make a run.
Centralia's actually shown some serious offensive capabilites, hanging 33 on Althoff in the narrow loss. So far, the Orphans have been surprisingly competitive. Mt. Vernon defeated them last year, but 2010 might see a swing in the rivalry.
In the Black Diamond Conference, Hamilton County fell to 2-3 after surrendering a 21-30 loss to Elverado. It was Elverado's first win of the season.
Sesser-Valier, on the other hand, remains in contention in a three-way tie for second place with Chester and Eldorado at 4-1. Johnston City is in the sole lead of the Black Diamond with a perfect 5-0 record.