MOUNT VERNON, Mo. — For the second straight year, Mount Vernon football started the season defending district champions but with a lot of holes to fill.
“The guys that stepped in last year are back this year,” Head Coach Tom Cox said. “They’ve done a good job of leadership with our younger guys.”
Much like last year, the Mountaineers stepped up in a major way leading Mount Vernon to a perfect 7-0 record.
That marks the school’s best start of the decade.
“We always look for the top of the mountain,” senior linebacker Cale Miller said. “If you lose a person, it doesn’t matter. We’re still going to the top.”
And what’s more on point than Mountaineers climbing mountains, but rather than attacking the cliff side – it’s the defense leading the way up the slope once more.
Mount Vernon has given up fewer than seven points on average over the last five weeks.
Something they credit to more of a group effort this time around.
“What’s really neat is just exactly what you said: team effort Kind of a ‘gang green’ effort if you want to say that,” Cox said.
“We’re focused on more of a team thing this year,” senior safety Tresten Shipman said. “Everybody getting to the ball, lot of effort.”
“Everybody’s been just doing their job. It’s not about one guy. It’s about everybody,” Miller said.
But with no losses on the record, Mount Vernon has taken its lessons from close battles instead – like single digit wins over Monett, Marshfield and Seneca.
“We have to build on what we’ve learned, both positive and negative,” Cox said. “You can use both of those to get better. That’s what we’re trying to do. That Monett game was a really hard hitting game. I think we learned some things during that game. We’re running the ball better now toward the end of the year. We’re hoping that we can sustain that and get back to where we want to be.”
And now, they face another likely close game as 5-2 Catholic comes to town for a matchup that’s been won by just one possession the last four times
“They’ve been really racking up some yardage on the ground,” Cox said. “They’ve got great speed and we’re going to have to really stop the big play.”