JASPER—Mount Carmel’s shockingly fast start didn’t seem to faze the Jasper Wildcats here on Friday night.
Neither did the Wildcat offense being stopped on downs on its first drive of the game.
Or trailing in the game with a goose egg on the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter.
It seemed no matter what early message the Golden Aces tried to send, Jasper refused to relent. Once the hosts finally got it in gear, cruise control wasn’t far off in a 56-22 crushing of the defending Big 8 Conference champions in a battle of the remaining two league unbeatens.
"Things started off well," said Aces coach Darren Peach, "with a two-play drive for a touchdown."
After missing on a pass attempt, quarterback Reece Metcalf delivered with his feet instead on an 80-yard touchdown run just 16 seconds into the game.
At that point the Aces "we’re feeling good about ourselves," Peach said. And, why not—that was the first score by an opponent this year at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium, after three straight Jasper shutout victories earlier.
Then the Aces defense stepped in, stopping Jasper’s lengthy first drive on downs, adding to the upset speculation.
Mount Carmel [4-2, 3-1] carried that 8-0 lead clear into the second quarter, and still had an 8-6 advantage after Jasper’s first score, a 13-yard sopho-more hookup [a Nolan Ahrens pass to Austin Alles] followed by a missed two-point conversion attempt.
However, between those first two scores, and lost amid the euphoria, was a foretelling of trouble on offense.
"The next couple of possessions, we drive it deep into their territory. You have to take advantage of that when you get the ball in the red zone and you’ve got to get scores," Peach said. "Unfortunately, we did not tonight."
Jasper’s next score came on its’ short-est drive of the night, when an Aces fumble deep at their own end gave the Wildcats the ball at the 6-yard line.
Fullback Kade Elliott took it in from the three, followed by a 2-point conver-sion catch from Devon Traylor, and Jasper had its first lead, one it would never relinquish, at 14-8.
With that, the floodgates had opened. Jasper ended up with 28 points in the second quarter, then added the first 28 of the second half before the Aces scored the game’s final 14 points.
"Defensively, after the second quarter got rolling, [Jasper] played great de-fense," Peach said.
Jasper [7-0, 4-0] frustrated the Aces aerial offense all night, even without a sack of Metcalf. The Wildcats instead led with outstanding pass coverage.
Metcalf completed only 15-of-37 passes, for 221 yards. He threw one touchdown pass late, and was inter-cepted once [by Scott Stallwood on a 38-yard TD return that closed out Jas-per’s 56-point run in the game].
You could never have guessed the final score based on a look at the stat sheet: Mount Carmel had 416 yards in total offense to Jasper’s 373.
But, the Wildcats worked the clock well with 56 of their 65 scrimmage plays on the ground.
Jasper running back Cole Sermer-sheim, who did not play against Prince-ton so to be fully rested against the Aces, got the ball 36 times, netting 224 yards and two scores.
The 56 points given up by the Aces is the 7th most in school history, and the most since Byron hit for 57 in a 1999 Class 3A quarterfinal victory.
Lawrenceville holds the mark, though, with an 85-0 win in 1929.