Joaquin Rams hold Shelbyville Dragons scoreless
The Joaquin Rams have earned a redemption win over the Shelbyville Dragons in round one of 2A playoff action. Joaquin entered this matchup as the two seed from 2A Division I District 11, while Shelbyville entered as the three seed from District 12. In week three of the regular season, the Dragons pulled off a fourth quarter upset in Joaquin. The Rams were clearly not ready to allow Shelbyville to have a second win over them in the 2019 season. “We were getting away with some things early in the season that we knew were going to cost us eventually. It just happened to cost us that night. As soon as that game was over in September, I told our kids that we’re not going to waste this failure. We are simply not going to do it. “It was definitely a revenge trip. We were really disappointed with the home loss. Looking forward it lined up that we would play [Shelbyville] again in the playoffs, and we took this week seriously, worked hard, did what the coaches asked, and executed the game plan to come up with the win,” said quarterback Connor Bragg. Joaquin was all business from the time that the first whistle blew as the final score of 39-0 showed. Early in the game, the Rams scored on a pass from Bragg to Maddox Hutchins. Joaquin also came up with an early defensive touchdown, when Jesus Bravo recovered a fumble near enough to slip into the endzone. Shelbyville was unable to shift momentum away from the Rams and would ultimately end the night scoreless. Senior Jaylon Brinson of Shelbyville transitioned to quarterback following a number of injuries and adjustments. Brinson ended the night with five completions for 52 yards and only 28 yards on the ground. Brinson has proven himself a threat in the run game over the course of his four-year high school football career, but the Joaquin defense came prepared. Quarter two was all about Lorenzo “Boogie” Lane. Lane rushed for the Rams’ two second-quarter touchdowns. This provided the Rams with a 26-0 lead heading into the locker room at halftime. “It feels good to get the win over them. We just knew that we had to come in and handle business, so it really felt good to get the win,” said Lane. After the break Gunner Nelson got in on the scoring action with a rushing touchdown of his own. The Rams’ final touchdown came on a field goal attempt. Joaquin kicker Bravo connected solidly with the football, but it was blocked by the outstretched hand of a Dragon defender. The ball then rolled into the endzone, where a quick-thinking Joaquin Ram fell onto it for a Joaquin touchdown. When you consider that the Rams lined up for three points and came away with six, it’s hard to imagine that they were unhappy with the resulting touchdown. That marked the final score of the game at Joaquin 39, Dragons 0. “As far as tonight, what I’m most proud of for our team is that we were able to get over a really disappointing and emotional loss from last week,” said Lawson referring to the loss against Harleton that cost the Rams a district championship, “You never know how kids are going to respond to that. We just preached to them all week that you’ve got to let last week be last week. We had to get prepared for a really good Shelbyville team tonight. I was really proud of my seniors. Logan Harper and Jesus Bravo, those guys, they kind of run our defense. They did a good job of getting the troops ready and refocused knowing that it’s a brand-new season. You can’t harp on the past, you have to let it die and move on to the next fight. I was really proud of my kids for having enough character and maturity to do that tonight against a good Shelbyville team.” Shelbyville’s season is now in the books. The Dragons now have a year’s worth of good football behind them. Shelbyville’s final record stands at 7-4. A playoff win would have been icing on the cake, but this season held a lot of success for the Dragons. “We finished with four seniors,” said Shelbyville Head Coach David Benbow, “I’m extremely proud of all of them. Of course, Jordan [Boykins] was on the sideline, that was a big loss for us. Jaylon [Brinson], he just does anything that we ask of him with no hesitation. Marcus Horton, tremendous athlete, great kick returner, good defensive back, just a wonderful kid. Trevor Jackson, just an effort and hustle guy. Joaquin was just the better football team tonight, and that’s really all that it came down to.” One season ends and another continues. Joaquin will face off against a strong Alto Yellowjackets team in Lufkin at Abe Martin Stadium on Friday at 7:30 PM. Look for the Rams to bring their A-game as they hope to advance in this year’s football playoffs.