Rams win season gridiron open on strength of fourth quarter


Edited Sept. 1, 11:30 pm – stats added at bottom

The Greene County Rams and the South Central Calhoun Titans played a half of even-up football before the Titans established themselves as rulers on their home field in Lake City during the third quarter of the season opener Saturday evening. The Titans’ reign was short-lived, as the 3A Rams scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to claim a 42-28 win over the 1A ninth-ranked Titans.

The Rams scored first with 5:31 left to play in the first quarter. Their first possession had ended with a missed 45-yard field goal attempt. The Titans got the ball on their own 20 yard line and moved it out to their 47 yard line before two tackles in the backfield and an incomplete pass put them punting the ball. The snap wasn’t accurate and Ram junior Dalton Weber sacked the kicker, giving the Rams the ball on the Titans’ 32 yard line. On the first play, Ram senior quarterback Daric Whipple passed to junior Nick Shroeder. The ball was deflected off Schroeder’s hands into the hands of senior Tyler Beger in the end zone for a touchdown. Schoeder’s kick was good and the Rams led 7-0.

The Titans scored with 8:28 left to play in the second quarter. An eight-play 49-yard drive ended with a 27-yard touchdown pass by Titan senior quarterback Derrick Henkenius. The Titans missed the conversion and the score was 7-6.

The Rams scored on their next possession, capping a 9-play, 65 yard drive with a Whipple 12-yard pass to Schroeder. Schroeder’s kick was good and the Rams were ahead 14-6 with 6:04 to play in the second quarter. The Rams didn’t score again until the fourth quarter.

The Titans’ next possession ended when Ram junior Logan Lansman intercepted a pass and the Rams got the ball on the Titans’ 44 yard line. Whipple was dropped for a loss on the next play, and at second and 15, the Titans intercepted a pass to Beger and reclaimed the ball on their own 18 yard line. A 13-play drive ended the half with a Titan touchdown. They again missed scoring on a conversion and the half ended with the score 14-12.

For the first half, the Rams had 145 yards of offense and the Titans had 183 yards.

The Titans finished the second quarter in possession of the ball and received the kick-off to begin the second half. They kept the ball for more than eight minutes in a 17-play, 65-yard drive that included two first downs obtained via penalties against the Rams. The drive ended with a score on a one-yard quarterback sneak and a touchdown. The Titans made the conversion and they took the lead 20-14.

The Titans scored again with 10:30 left to play in the fourth quarter. Six plays ended with a 40 yard touchdown pass and a conversion to put the Titans up 28-14.

The next six minutes of football will be talked about for a long time. Senior Anthony Cunningham returned the Titans’ kick 30 yards to the Ram 44 yard line. Whipple threw a 14 yard pass to Schroeder, and senior Max Neese ran for 21 yards to put the Rams at the 22 yard line. Whipple threw a pass to senior Reid Lamoureux for a touchdown. Schroeder’s kick for the point after was good and with 10:02 left to play the score was 28-21.

The Titans answered with a 47-yard kick return that took the ball to the 50 yard line. On a third and nine play, Ram sophomore Jake Berns deflected a Henkenius pass into Whipple’s hands and the Rams had the football back again on their own 40 yard line. A short gain and then a quarterback sack put the Rams at third and 14 on their own 36 yard line, but Whipple hit Lamoureux for a 25-yard pass and a 15 yard penalty against the Titans put the ball on the Titans 26 yard line. Neese and Whipple ran on the next two plays and Whipple finished the drive with a 13-yard pass to Neese. The kick for the extra point missed and the score was 28-27, with the Rams trailing.

The Titans’ next possession started with a touchback to the 20 yard line and ended as Ram senior Keyden Pollock blocked a punt four plays later, recovered the ball and ran it to the end zone. The Rams made a two point conversion and claimed the lead at 35-28 with 5:02 left to play in the game.

Kicker Nick Schroeder again landed his kickoff in the end zone for a touchback to the 20 yard line. The Titans were unable to get forward movement on the ball and at fourth and 20 they punted out to their own 40 yard line.

The Rams scored again just 1:22 later. The Rams moved the ball 20 yards in three plays but then ended up at fourth and 10. The Rams missed a 38-yard field goal, but the Titans were charged with roughing the kicker, giving the Rams a first down at the 10 yard line. Whipple scored a touchdown on the next play and with 3:09 left to play and the PAT kick good, the Rams were up 42-28. The Rams had scored three times in less than six minutes of play.

The Titans next possession ended prematurely. They returned the kickoff to their 23 yard line, but on the first play from scrimmage senior Noah Juergensen forced a fumble that was recovered by senior Mitchell Gorsuch.

The Titans had one more possession that ended with a Beger pass interception.

For the game, the Rams had 315 yards of offense and the Titans had 317 yards. Whipple was 12 for 21 passing for 208 yards and rushed for 93 yards in 18 carries. Neese, Beger and Lamoureux all rushed for more than 40 yards each. Henkenius was 18 of 32 passing for 249 yards. He rushed for 68 yards on 45 carries. Titan junior Kody Case tallied 112 yards receiving Henkenius passes.

The Rams host the Carroll Kuemper Knights next Friday night at Linduska Field in Jefferson.

The following stats are provided by the Scranton Journal:

Whipple completed 12 of 21 passes for 208 yards and four touchdowns. He was intercepted once. Beger caught two passes for 49  yards and a TD; Lamoureux, two catches for 46 yards and one touchdown; Neese, four receptions for 49 yards with one TD; Chase Stoline, a 16-yard catch.

Whipple led the rushing stats with 19 carries for 93 yards and a score. Neese added 19 yards on 11 attempts while Anthony Cunningham ran twice for negative five yards.

Leading the defense were Pollock, Noah Juergensen and Neese. Neese had six solo and three assisted tackles. Pollock brought down five Titans and assisted seven times. He recovered a fumble for a touchdown. Juergensen had five solo tackles, four assists and a solo quarterback sack.

Others adding to the defense were: Dalton Weber, four solo, three assists, QB sack; Whipple, four solo, two assists, one interception; Mitchell Gorsuch, four solo, three assists, solo sack, fumble recovery; Cunningham, three solo, six assists; Matthew Gordon, three solo, three assists; Ben Lint, two solo, five assists, fumble recovery; Logan Lansman, three solo, two assists, one interception with five yard return; Stoline, two solo, one assist; Dylan Smith, two solo; Lamoureux, one solo, two assists; Anthony Jacobsen and Dylan Fouch, one solo tackle apiece; Jake Berns, one solo, one assist and Beger, one solo, one assist, one interception with 23 yard return.

Schroeder kicked four PATs and attempted one field goal that was unsuccessful. He kicked off seven times for 382 yards and six touchbacks. Lamoureux punted twice for 71 yards.

Cunningham returned three kickoffs for 83 yards while Neese handled one kick for a return of nine yards. Beger caught a punt and ran for six yards.


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