It was a night all set up for history.
But not long after junior quarterback Reece Metcalf had marched into the history books with the greatest single-season passing total in school history, fans at Riverview Stadium were then treated to a performance by the Golden Aces defense that virtually stole the show in a 42-7 non-conference rout of Mt. Vernon on Friday night.
It may have been the most complete victory achieved yet by a 6-3 Aces team which now heads for post-season play.
“For the past two weeks we’ve been playing some pretty good football,” said Aces coach Darren Peach. “This week we took another step in the right direction as far as our team improving on offense and defense.”
Metcalf threw for 311 yards to boost his season total to 2,269 yards, well past Luke Drone’s mark of 2,008 set in 2002. Drone was in attendance, and congratulated Metcalf in an on-field meeting after the finish.
The night was historic as well for Mt. Vernon – for all the wrong reasons. The Rams finished with an 0-9 record for the first time in the 106-year history of the program.
Mt. Carmel jumped to a 20-0 halftime lead and was never threatened. Sam Wampler scored twice, while Metcalf threw the first of his three touchdown passes to Levi Laws to carry a big lead into the locker room at halftime.
"Their record doesn’t show it, but their kids play hard,” said Peach of the Rams, known for fast starts in games. “They just couldn’t get over the hump this year, and thank goodness they didn’t this week either.”
Laws’ 51-yard TD catch in the first half was his longest haul of the game. The shortest catch of three yards early in the third quarter gave the Aces a 28-0 lead. He added a 12-yard scoring catch late, to finish his team-high total of six receptions for 161 yards.
Metcalf was 16-of-29 in the air. The junior lefthander now has 21 TD passes on the year. He was intercepted once, only the seventh pickoff.
While Mt. Carmel churned out 428 yards in total offense, Mt. Vernon was held to 200.
The Aces defense has heard all season about some of the big point totals they have allowed. So, holding Mt. Vernon to seven points was a vindication of sorts.
“Our defense has been playing better since all the criticism we’ve been getting,” said senior Dalton Peach, who had a strong game at linebacker after stepping in for Austin Rue, who is now limited to offense only after a mild MCL injury. “That really gets to us and makes us work harder.”
In addition to the play up front, the defensive backfield got into the act as well, with three interceptions of Mt. Vernon quarterback Clayton Reeves, who was 8-of-21 for 86 yards.
Wampler led the Aces on the ground with 45 yards on 10 carries.