Chris Hugo, Section618.com
Mt. Vernon — It didn’t take long for the Mt. Vernon Rams’ speed to look explosive on their new turf en route to a 33-24 win over Collinsville on Friday at Ken Hunt Stadium.
After the Kahok’s opening drive stalled early, the Rams marched down field and found pay dirt thanks to freshman Josh Crowder’s 25-yard TD run to take a 7-0 at the 7:57 mark of the first quarter. The Rams used an RJ King sack of Collinsville Quarterback Darren Pennell for a turnover on downs and would march down field again. New Rams QB Jayden Morales somehow found Cole Timmons through the air which would ultimately setup Morales’ one-yard run to stretch the Rams first quarter lead to 14-0.
The Kahoks finally got on the board early in the second quarter after Ryan McIntyre ran in a score from 11-yards. Collinsville made the extra point, but a Rams penalty led the Kahoks to attempt a two-point conversion that would ultimately fail leaving the score 14-6.
The Rams were trying to get something going just over two minutes later at the 8:53 mark whenever a fumble was recovered by Chase Reynolds who ran it back 62-yards for a Kahok touchdown. The Kahoks missed the two-point conversion and gave us a halftime score of 14-12.
The second half kickoff belonged to the Rams and it took just 13 seconds for Nevontae Nesbit to return it 86-yards for a touchdown and 20-12 Rams lead. The Rams defense stepped up in the third quarter holding off a couple of goal line drives by the Kahoks. A holding penalty wiped away a 5-yard Pennell touchdown and pushed them back to second and goal from the 15. The very next play saw the Rams’ Aiden Weems run right through the line and sack Pennell for a 13-yard loss. The Rams defense followed that up with a Malakai Mays tipped pass to prevent a score and a 4th down interception in the far corner of the end zone by freshman Malik Grissom.
Just moments later the Rams saw their own 3-and-out lead to a blocked punt with 31 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter. It promptly setup a Reynolds 6-yard catch for a Kahoks score to cut the deficit to 20-18. A 20-20 tie was averted after fullback Zay Norton was initially ruled into the end zone on a two-point conversion but the officials would discuss and waive it off leaving the Mt. Vernon lead at 20-18.
After an illegal procedure penalty on the kickoff, the Rams had good field position at their own 35. A few runs moved the chains to midfield where the Rams stalled and came up just inches short on a 4th and 4 run. The very next play saw Pennell overthrow KJ Thorps-Watt and Grissom made an acrobatic snag for his second interception of the night. The turnover setup the Rams at their own 21.
The very next play led to a pitch to Nesbit who ran 79-yards for what would ultimately be the game winning score after Blake Sanders’ PAT stretched the Mt. Vernon lead to 27-18 with 8:08 left in the 4th quarter.
The Rams defense made another big play on the next Kahok drive whenever Nesbit stepped in front of a Pennell pass for another interception with 6:05 remaining. After running off clock, Marlin Price ran out of real estate on a 36-yard run and added another touchdown and extended the Rams lead to 33-18 at the 3:27 mark.
A few plays later, the Kahoks used a double pass from Pennell to Reynolds who found McIntyre for a 76-yard score but the conversion failed with 3:11 left. Collinsville successfully converted an onside kick, but a penalty pushed them back and they couldn’t convert the re-kick and the Rams would hold on for the 33-24 victory.
Mt. Vernon is now 2-2 and welcomes Bonne Terre, MO (North County) on Friday. You can listen to the game on WMIX-AM 940 & 96.5 FM or watch live on the WMIX Sports YouTube and Section618.com Mobile App. The Rams are at home on the new artificial turf at Ken Hunt Stadium for five of their next six games. The week 8 game at Centralia on Oct. 13 will be their only game of the season on natural grass.