By PAUL HINES
MT. CARMEL —
The Golden Aces used the strong arm of quarterback Reece Metcalf to beat Mt. Vernon 42-7 Friday night.
Metcalf hurt the Rams defense throughout the game and threw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns.
The game was the last of the season for the Rams who finished winless.
After talking with his team, Mt. Vernon coach Jared Shaner spoke with his seniors.
“It’s a good group of kids,” Shaner said. “I sure wish we could have got them a couple wins along the way. We were close in a few games, and it didn’t work out. We talked a little bit about football and more about life in general.
“Maybe we’re getting taught a lesson about perseverance right now.”
Mt. Vernon’s most success this season has come on the ground, but the Golden Aces’ defense didn’t give the Rams many chances to break off big gains. “They’re a good defensive team on the ground,” Shaner said. “They’ve given up some points this year, and it’s been through the air more than anything. Unfortunately that’s not our strong point.”
Doug Gardner led the Rams with 64 yards on seven carries. Most of his yards came on Mt. Vernon’s only scoring drive of the game. It happened with the Rams trailing 28-0 midway through the third quarter.
Mt. Vernon started from its own 10 and moved the ball to the 26-yard line after a pair of completion from quarterback Clayton Reeves.
After an incompletion, Gardner ripped past the Golden Aces defense and into Mt. Carmel territory. He ended the run with a stiff-arm that flattened a defensive back. The gain covered 48 yards. Reeves finished the drive with a five-yard scoring pass to Demontez Miller-Grey. The score cut the deficit to 28-7.
“I was happy on that drive that we could punch it in there,” Shaner said.
With Mt. Carmel shutting down any run opportunities, the Rams were forced to try to attack through the air. Reeves finished the game with 93 passing yards. He was 10 of 20 with three interceptions.
“The defense played very well here today,” Mt. Carmel coach Darren Peach said.
Metcalf spread his completions around to four different receivers. Levi Laws finished with 115 yards on five catches. His first score helped Mt. Carmel build a 20-0 halftime lead. His second touchdown came a half minuteinto the second half. It was the first of three touchdowns for Mt. Carmel in the second half.
Mt. Vernon ended 0-9 this season, and Mt. Carmel improved to 6-3 overall.
The winless season was the first since 1926 for the Mt. Vernon football program, according to ihsa.org.