Football

Brewer Era begins

MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. – The last time the grandest football program in southern Illinois changed its’ head coach, in 2001, Michael Brewer was a junior at Mount Carmel High School.

Sixteen years later, it is now Brewer who is in charge at his alma mater, succeeding Darren Peach, who resigned last year after the winningest tenure in school history.

Monday was Day One of the Brewer Era, and nothing looked out of the ordinary, save for one nod to the modern athlete, a speaker sitting on the sideline gently pumping out beats in the background during practice. Brewer, who takes the reigns after six years as an assistant, has made other changes as well.

“We’ve done things here and there a little bit different, but outside of that we don’t want to mess up a good thing,” said Brewer after the first official day, which consisted of two workouts, wrapping up at dusk on the practice field next to Riverview Stadium, where the Aces debut on August 25th against Harrisburg.

Peach steps down as football coach

MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. – The winningest football coach in the history of Mount Carmel High School is calling it a career.

Darren Peach, with 141 wins in 16 years at the helm of the Golden Aces, texted his announcement to local media sources on Tuesday evening. He wrote: “I retired from being head football coach. I have turned my letter in for next school board meeting and I told the kids today.”

Kennard to power lift at McKendree

MOUNT CARMEL, ILL. – School record yardage totals in football are not the only big numbers Trevor Kennard has put up at Mount Carmel High School. In fact, his power lifting numbers have been good enough to land a college scholarship. Kennard signed scholarship papers on Wednesday to attend McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois this fall.

Throwback team honored

MOUNT CARMEL, ILL. – There is nothing wrong with being a finesse team, Mount Carmel football coach Darren Peach told a large gathering Sunday at the team’s post-season banquet.

Why, his Golden Aces teams have been very successful with the wide-open, pass-happy finesse teams of the last 10 years.

However, the 2016 edition which finished 10-1 after the school’s first 9-0 regular-season since 2007, was different. A “tougher” team he would say, almost a throwback to Mount Carmel’s historic heritage.

“This year’s team is probably one of the toughest teams we’ve ever had,” said Peach’s, already the school’s winningest coach but now the longest-tenured as well, wrapping up his 16th year at the helm. The defense “was exponentially better this year than last,” he said. “It was refreshing to see tackling again.”

“For me to be able to stand here and say you guys were a physical football team, I don’t think there is a bigger compliment that I could give you.”

ACES FOOTBALL TEAM HONORED

MOUNT CARMEL – In Mt. Carmel High School head football coach Darren Peach’s way of thinking, the unofficial record his Golden Aces set in 2015 probably cost them a shot at a winning season and their 10th consecutive playoff appearance:

Most injuries in a season.

As the Aces infirmary bulged and the personnel losses mounted, the veteran Peach and his staff first tweaked the offense, then eventually shelved the entire defensive scheme to fit who was left standing. As it was, the Aces were still only one play – a last-second loss to Princeton would be first to consider but there were others – away from a 5-4 finish and admittance to the IHSA post-season party for the 32nd time in 33 years.

“If we had all of our bullets in our gun, we would have been playing yesterday,” said Peach Sunday at the team’s post-season awards program at Parkview Christian Church, a reference to the playoff semifinals held one day earlier, the same round the Aces found themselves in last year (a 42-8 loss at Williamsville that concluded a 10-3 season).

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