As the St. Vincent Indians quickly found out, Park Hills is as good as advertised. The Rebels who return nine offensive starters and the entire secondary, along with multiple linebackers and defensive linemen, showed their prowess on both sides of the ball as Park Hills handed St. Vincent a 40-0 defeat on Friday at Indians Stadium.
The Rebels and Indians were scheduled to play each other last season, but COVID-19 got in the way. St. Vincent football coach Tim Schumer was excited for the challenge of one of the top teams in the area.
“We were looking for a Class 3 team to play two years ago when we scheduled them for some good competition,” Schumer said. “They definitely were just that.”
The Indians found out how good, when their offense netted no points and then on the second play from scrimmage Park Hills quarterback Jett Bridges connected with Ruger Sutton for a 54-yard touchdown after a Rebel false start.
The Rebels followed that up with a 48-yard interception return for a score by Dylan Hollifield, the reigning defensive player of the year in the White Division of the Mississippi Area Football Conference.
“We just wanted to have a short memory after that,” Schumer said. “We couldn’t do anything about that start. We wanted to be better going forward and move the ball and make stops on defense.”
St. Vincent did just that late in the first quarter when they moved the ball into the redzone, but were intercepted at the one-yard line. The Rebels turned the turnover into points with a touchdown catch from Bridges to Gage Manion. The Indians were able to move the ball on Park Hills, but weren’t able to get into the endzone.
“We did a good job on offense, I thought,” Schumer said. “We were able to get to their side of the field, but fizzled out, whether that was because of penalties or negative plays.”
Park Hills went into halftime with a 34-0 lead, despite that Schumer saw some things to build on.
The Indians went into the game with the focus on Park Hills running back Dayshawn Welch, who ran for 1,859 yards and 22 touchdowns last fall in only 10 games. St. Vincent limited him to 107 yards.
“I thought we did a good job of executing that part of our gameplan,” Schumer said. “But with a team as good as Park Hills, they are going to be able to beat you in different ways.”
The Rebels capitalized through the air, as Sutton made six receptions for 117 yards and Bridges threw for four touchdowns.
St. Vincent travels to Scott City this Friday night. The Rams are coming off a 27-6 victory over Dexter in week 1.
“They are a tough, physical team who will hit you in the mouth,” Schumer said. “We have to be ready for that type of play next week.”