Joaquin thrashes Maud in home opener, 58-7

Joaquin -- One week after dropping a heartbreaker to archrival Tenaha, the Joaquin Rams took the field at Ram Stadium for the first time this season, and proceeded to take their frustrations out on a very unfortunate Maud Cardinal squad. The Rams dominated in every phase of the game, rolling up 533 yards of total offense, while holding the Cardinals to 153 yards. The Cardinals only score came on a kickoff return that came long after the outcome had been decided. The Ram defense also forced four Maud turnovers, all of which the offensive unit converted into touchdowns.

The Cardinals used a botched punt attempt that turned into a 28 yard run by Jordan Creutz to move the ball into Ram territory on their opening drive. On 2nd and 7 from the Joaquin 24, senior nosetackle Zach Bell sacked quarterback Gage Jones and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Tre Burns at the 35 yard line. The Rams put together an 11 play, 65 yard drive, with senior quarterback Tray Wilkerson punching the ball in on a one yard dive. A high snap foiled the PAT attempt, leaving the Rams up 6-0 with 4:57 to play in the first quarter.

A stout defensive effort forced a 3 and out followed by a Maud punt, which Connor Bragg returned 27 yards to the Maud 48. The Rams only needed five plays to score this time, with senior running back Kase Yates doing the honors from two yards out. Hunter Gates dashed in for the two point conversion, stretching the lead to 14-0 with 1:26 left in the opening period. The Cardinals strung together a nice drive, aided by a couple of Rams penalties, to set up a 33 yard field goal by Brooks Minter. The kick was good, but an offsides penalty against the Rams allowed Maud to take the points off the board and try for a touchdown. They got as far as the two yard line, where Yates intercepted Jones to kill the threat. The Rams then essentially iced the game with an eleven play, 97 yard drive finished off by an 18 yard run by Yates. Jesus Bravo booted the PAT, giving the Rams a 21-0 lead with 1:04 left in the first half. Yates would set up an eight yard Connor Bragg touchdown with an interception at the Maud 37, which he returned to the eight. The Rams took a 28-0 lead into the locker room. They came out after the half and three touchdowns in the third quarter, two by Yates (1, 31), and one by Bragg (10). Yates also added a one yard run in the fourth, which was set up by a 62 yard run by Joseph Tarver.

As expected, Yates led the Ram offense with 15 carries for 184 yards and five touchdowns. He was quick to credit his offensive line for the effort.

“Our line really did a good job tonight. It didn’t really matter who was running the ball. We all had good lanes to run in. They really opened up some holes for us.”  Joseph Tarver also had a big night, picking up 107 yards on eight attempts. Hunter Gates added 65 yards on eight tries, Connor Bragg got 55 yards and two scores on seven carries, and quarterback Tray Wilkerson ran the ball seven times for 46 yards and a score. Wilkerson also completed two of three passes for 47 yards. Tarver caught one for 37 yards, while Bragg caught the other for ten. The Ram defensive effort was led by senior nosetackle Zach Bell, who notched 12 tackles, including one for a loss, one sack and one caused fumble on the night. Sophomore linebacker Ian Shahan made seven tackles, and Connor Bragg made seven as well. Junior Trenton Ramsey added six tackles and a fumble recovery. Kase Yates had a big night on defense as well, recording five tackles, two interceptions, and causing a fumble.

Rams Head Coach Wade Lawson was please with the effort. “I thought we did a really good job of establishing control of the line of scrimmage when we had the ball. We really dominated the line of scrimmage. That allowed us to move the ball very effectively with our running game. Defensively, I can’t say enough about the job Coach (Jon) Jones is doing. We gave up a couple of big plays on missed assignments, but we pretty much shut their offense down. My only complaint is our kick coverage. We’ve got to address that this week.” The Rams will host the Lovelady Lions next Friday night. This will be the third meeting in a year between these two teams. Last year in Week 3 at Lovelady, the Lions held off a  furious Ram comeback to pull out a 21-20 victory. In a November Bi-District playoff game at Bullard, the Lions won convincingly, 33-16. Both teams will come into the contest at 1-1, with the Lions having notched their first win of the season, a 36-8 thumping of Anderson-Shiro. Kickoff at Ram Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.

Scoring Summary

Fourth Quarter

Kase Yates 1-yard TD run. Zach Bell on the conversion run. 58-7

Maud returns kick 85 yards for TD. PAT good. 50-7

Third quarter

Kase Yates 31 yard TD run. Trenton Ramsey 2 points run good. 50-0 

Connor Bragg 14-yard run. PAT good. 42-0

Kase Yates 1-yard TD run. PAT good. 35-0

Second quarter

Connor Bragg 8-yard TD run. PAT good. 28-0

Kase Yates 18-yard run. PAT good. 21-0

First Quarter

Kase Yates TD run, 2-pt. conversion good. 14-0

Tray Wilkerson 2-yard TD, PAT failed. 6-0