MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon
football team has faced many challenges in a short period of time this year.
The challenge of an opening game without their quarterback. The challenge of
a different offense to prepare for each week. This Friday, they’ll face
another challenge — that of the first game of league play.
The Yellow Jackets host Olentangy Orange at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the first game of the Ohio Capital Conference schedule. Despite a less than stellar record, the Pioneers will give the Jackets one of their toughest challenges so far.
“We definitely have a challenge in front of us. They are the best team we’ve faced so far,” said Mount Vernon coach Gary Keller. “Obviously, we have to play better than we did last week. We’ve got to take care of the football; we’ve got to play a complete game. I doubt if we’ve done that yet. To be successful, we’ll have to play better football as a team.”
The Jackets (1-2) struggled at times last week, falling to Mansfield Madison. They twice got the ball into the red zone (inside the opponent’s 20-yard line), but came away with just three points. That inability to get the ball into the end zone was costly against the Rams and will make things extremely difficult if it happens again this week against the Pioneers (1-2).
Orange will bring in an explosive offense led by quarterback Jared Leet. They are averaging 18 points a game, including a 35-0 beating of Westerville North a week ago.
“They run a wing-T. Each week we’ve faced a different kind of team. This is a unique offense. They have some nice receivers and a good running back. They are a pretty talented football team,” Keller said.
Leet’s favorite target so far this fall has been Jordan Combs. The wide out had four catches for 102 yards and a 56-yard touchdown strike against Olentangy Liberty, then caught another TD pass in the win over Westerville North.
To keep up with the Pioneers, Keller knows his Jackets will have to click on all cylinders Friday.
“Our thought process is we have to go back to the fundamentals. We have to execute better. If we do that, we can be a good football team,” Keller said. “Our ability to run, pass and catch the ball all have to improve. We were not in sync last week very well, obviously.