High School Football

Althoff to take on ‘physical’ Mount Vernon in South 7 Conference opener

With his undefeated team state-ranked and possessing one of the more high-powered offenses in the St. Louis-area, Althoff coach Ken Turner knows exactly what to expect from the Mount Vernon Rams on Friday, when the Crusaders open South Seven Conference play.

And if the Rams have their way, it won’t be pretty.

“We know that when conference games begin that it’s going to be a more physical style of play. That is the style that Mount Vernon teams have played in the past and in watching them on film, it’s the style they’ll play on Friday. They are physical foootball team that likes to play smash-mouth type football,’’ Turner said. “They are going to try and run the football, take time off the clock and march down the field.

“They want to keep our offense off the field.’’

So far in 2015, nobody has slowed down an Althoff squad which has scored 139 points in three games and is coming off a 68-46 win over Mater Dei. If there is a concern for Turner it’s the Crusaders defense. Althoff has allowed 84 points in the last two weeks.

“We like to play at a fast pace and when you do that, you can sometimes give up a lot of points,’’ Turner said. “We’re playing a lot of young kids on the defensive side of the football., but they are working hard and I think we’re improving each week. We want to continue to play at a fast pace and not give up as many points.

Friday’s Game: Mount Vernon (1-2) vs. Althoff (3-0), at Lindenwood Stadium, 7 p.m.

Last week: Triad defeated Mount Vernon 14-12; Althoff defeated Mater Dei 68-46.

Rankings: Mount Vernon is unranked; Althoff is ranked fourth in the Associated Press Class 4A state poll and No.1 in the News-Democrat small school poll.

Last meeting: Althoff defeated Mount Vernon 28-26 a year ago.

Scouting the Rams

Always one of the more hard-hitting teams in the South Seven Conference, the Rams will be playing their third undefeated team in four weeks. Mount Vernon lost to Taylorville 21-14 in week one, then dropped a two-point decision to undefeated Triad last week.

The Rams will be without their top offensive weapon — senior running back Jailon Rush. One of the top offensive players in the South Seven Conference, Rush is out with a hand injury after rushing for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns in the first three games of the season.

“They (Mount Vernon) are a team that will come right at you,’’ Turner said. “I think they threw the football maybe 10 times last week against Triad. They are big and physical and they are going to run the football. But we like to think we’re pretty physical too.

“On defense, they’ll run a 4-3 or 4-2 scheme. We’ve seen it before. It all comes down to execution.’’

Scouting the Crusaders

For the Rams to have any chance to pull off the upset, they will have to slow down Crusaders quarterbak Jordan Augustine. Throwing to five different receivers last week, Augustine finished with 537 passing yards and five touchdowns. Augustine spread the wealth as four different targets crossed the goal line.

“He (Augustine) played very well. In fact, he’s played well the first three weeks of the season,’’ Turner said. “We have a lot of offensive weapons. As long we don’t turn the football over, we’ll be fine.’’

Contact reporter Dean Criddle at dcriddle@bnd.com or 618-239-2661.