Strong Second Half Keys Ram Victory, 47-0
HUNTINGTON -- The Joaquin Rams traveled to Red Devil Stadium to take on Class 4A Huntington Friday night, and used a stout defensive effort to overcome a sloppy offensive performance in the first half.
Four first-half turnovers served to keep the Ram offense out of the end zone, but the Red Devil offense never got out of first gear.
The Rams would take a 10-0 lead to the locker room, where some halftime adjustments led to a 30-point third quarter.
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
The Rams got on the board first with a 22-yard field goal by Jesus Bravo with 3:43 left in the first quarter.
On the first snap of the next Devil possession, Hunter Gates intercepted a Jahrell Stevens pass and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. Bravo booted the point after, leading many to believe the rout was on.
However, the Rams’ next four possessions ended in turnovers, allowing the Devils to stay in the game.
The Ram defense was lights out, holding the Devils to just two first downs in the half.
The Rams received the second half kickoff looking like a team on a mission. On the first snap, senior running back Kase Yates burst up the middle for an 86-yard touchdown run. Bravo booted the PAT, and this time, the rout was on for real.
With 5:43 left in the third quarter, quarterback Tray Wilkerson scored on a 14 yard run. Another Bravo kick made it 24-0. The Devils mishandled the kickoff and found themselves pinned at their own seven yard line.
On the next play, Boogie Lane sacked Stevens in the end zone for a safety, making it 26-0.
A terrible punt on the free kick sailed out of bounds at the Devil 33, and Connor Bragg reeled off runs of 25 and three yards, respectively, scoring on the second one.
After the kickoff, Lane scooped up a fumbled snap and raced 47 yards to make it 40-0 after Bravo’s kick.
“The coaches put together a great game plan, and we just went out there and read our keys and executed,” Lane said.
With the second team offense in the game, the Rams capped off the scoring with a seven-yard run by Lane with 46 seconds left on the clock.
The Rams rolled up 419 yards of offense in the contest, with all but three yards of it coming on the ground. Kasey Yates led the way with 17 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown.
Connor Bragg picked up 110 yards and a score on seven attempts, and Tray Wilkerson added 50 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
The Ram defense was led by sophomore defensive end Lorenzo (Boogie) Lane, who made 11 tackles, including three for losses, and three quarterback sacks, as well as the 47 yard fumble return for a touchdown. Senior nose tackle Zach Bell seven tackles, with one being for a loss. Hunter Gates made three stops and returned an interception for a score.
"We made a couple of minor changes to counter what they were doing, and there was no stopping us after that," said senior offensive tackle Lane Bates. "We weren't firing off the ball together in the first half, and it was throwing the timing off. Once we fixed that, it was game on.”
Head Coach Wade Lawson said he was proud of the way his team responded to their halftime conference.
“I don't think we were mentally ready to play this game," Lawson said. "That's why we were so sloppy in the first half. We got that worked out over here on the sidelines before the half, so we didn't really have a lot of talking to do in the locker room. We just made our adjustments and the kids went out and dominated like we knew they should. I would much rather have a sloppy half like that now, than against one of the teams in our district. Some of those folks will make you pay for that.”
The Rams (3-1) will be back at home next week, when they host the Hawkins Hawks in the annual JHS Homecoming Game. The Hawks come into the game with a 0-4 record. They were defeated 38-14 by Timpson tonight. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:00 p.m., with kickoff at 7:30. The Homecoming parade will start at 4:00 p.m.
Jesus Bravo 22-yard field goal 3-0
Hunter Gates 43-yard interception return, PAT good 10-0
Kase Yates 86-yard touchdwon run, PAT good 17-0
Tray Wilkerson 14-yard touchdwon run, PAT good 24-0
Boogie Lane records safety on a sack, 26-0
Connor Bragg 8-yard touchdwon run, PAT good 33-0
Boogie Lane 47-yard touchdown off fumble recovery, PAT good 40-0
Boogie Lane 7-yard touchdown run, PAT good 47-0
2017 Joaquin Rams (3-1)
Sept. 1 L @ Tenaha 23-22
Sept. 8 W vs. Maud 58-7
Sept. 15 W vs. Lovelady 43-22
Sept. 22 W @ Huntington 47-0
Sept. 29 vs. Hawkins** 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 6 BYE
Oct. 13 @ Alto* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 @ Shelbyville* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 27 vs. Carlisle* 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 3 @ San Augustine* 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 10 vs. Cushing* 7:30 p.m.
*District game ** Homecoming