Joaquin Rams outlast Garrison 28-17

Rams scheduled to travel to San Augustine Saturday with a 5-0 record
NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 8, print edition of The Light and Champion.

Anyone who even loosely follows high school football knows how crazy COVID-19 has made this season. No team knows that better than the Joaquin Rams after last Friday night.

The Rams coaching staff was forced to prepare for and take on the Garrison Bulldogs shorthanded. Joaquin was without three of their coaches due to positive coronavirus cases.

Making things even more difficult, among those missing was Head Coach Wade Lawson. Coach Lawson looked to Offensive Coordinator Jared Jones to fill in for him.

Despite the coaching setback the Rams were able to band together and collect their first district win. Joaquin extends their perfect record to 5-0.

The final score may be a bit deceptive as to how close this game actually was. It was a slug fest, with neither defense willing to give up an inch. The game did not start as the Rams would have liked. Joaquin fumbled the opening kick but were then able to hold the Bulldogs to a field goal.

Later in the first, Garrison used a play action fake to find a wide receiver open downfield for the touchdown. Garrison had now built up a 10-0 lead over the Rams.

Just 10 seconds after the start of the second quarter, Travon Jasmine gave Joaquin the boost they had been looking for by going 39 yards for the touchdown. This score and the subsequent two-point conversion trimmed the Garrison lead to 10-8.

Joaquin’s defense provided a big stop on fourth down late in the quarter, and the teams headed to halftime with the score remaining 10-8, Garrison.

The third quarter provided fans with a look at two tough defenses. Neither team was able to add points this quarter, but with only five seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter, Andre Brown added another Joaquin touchdown on a big run up the middle.

Joaquin extended their lead when Gauge Jordan found his cutback lane and followed it all the way to paydirt. Now the Rams led the Bulldogs 20-10 with only 9:07 left to play.

At the 6:47 mark, Garrison found a man downfield for a receiving touchdown trimming the lead to three.

Garrison made the Rams sweat when they recovered the onside kick following the score, but Joaquin’s defense once again proved that they were there to play.

Just as time expired, Jordan snagged an interception that he toted all the way back to the end zone. Joaquin took the victory, 28-17.

“We didn’t have the kind of week of preparation that we would normally have with everything going on,” said Coach Jones.

“Right there at the beginning it cost us,:” he said. “We had a lot of costly turnovers. It was not Joaquin Ram football there at the beginning, but when we had to step up, we stepped up.

`'Defense came through right there at the end with the big pick six, and we were able to hang the extra one on just for a consolation prize there,” Jones said. “I could not be more proud of these kids, the way they stepped up and carried out the game plan.”

Joaquin will now be preparing to travel to San Augustine this week in a game originally scheduled for Friday, Oct. 9, but which was rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19.

For more photos by freelance photographer Taylor Bragg, please visit: https://lightandchampion.smugmug.com/Joaquin-vs-Garrison-District-Opener/

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