GILLESPIE – The Vandals will be without two players for this Friday’s game against Carlinville.
Juniors quarterback Collin Nestleroad and receiver Codie Jackson will both miss the game due to concussions suffered during last Friday’s season-opening 46-12 loss at Gillespie.
Neither player played in the second half of that game, and Nestleroad was 2-4 passing for 15 yards and his first career touchdown before leaving the game.
Sophomore Tucker Willms, who threw six passes in the second half, will continue to be Vandalia’s quarterback at Carlinville, in what is expected to be a tough test for the inexperienced Vandals.
The Cavaliers opened their season last Friday with a 45-15 rout at Roxana.
Vandalia, which hasn’t beaten Carlinville since 2008, will need to shore up its mistakes from last Friday’s game, because coach John Stout said the Cavaliers are similar to Gillespie.
“Carlinville is much like their teams of the past,” he said. “They run the ball well. They had a lot of big plays on sweeps against Roxana, and their quarterback (Joeb Easterday) is athletic, much like Gillespie’s.”
Carlinville is without graduated running backs Brendan Stewart and Cory Farneti, – both first-team all-conference selections last season – but they have been replaced with similar players in junior Kinney Myles and senior LaDarius Dunlap.
Myles torched the Roxana defense for 254 rushing yards – including touchdown runs of 75 and 68 yards – and Dunlap added 113 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown.
“We are going to have to get off of blocks better, take better pursuit angles and tackle better,” Stout said of the improvements that need to be made on defense.
The Vandals struggled to get their offense going in the first game, gaining just 143 yards in the loss.
Now, they will face a disciplined defense, which held Roxana to just seven points in the first three quarters
“They play a 4-4 (defense),” Stout said, “so we are going to have to eliminate mistakes and be able to throw the ball against them.”
The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. from Carlinville High School.