Rams lose on gridiron 21-14 to Kuemper Knights

Edited Aug. 29 with statistics

Ram fans saw a football team much improved over last year when the Rams opened the season hosting the Carroll Kuemper Knights Friday evening. The Rams lost, 21-14, but for comparison, the Rams opened the 2016 season with a 34-0 loss to the Knights.

The offense played an up-tempo team game, as new coach head coach Mitch Moore had promised, and the defense gave fans plenty to cheer about.

The Knights jumped out to an early lead, taking only five plays to cover 80 yards and score. Quarterback Miles Rupiper picked up a bad snap and ran 51 yards on the fifth play of the game. The extra point kick was good and the Knights were up 7-0 with 9:51 to play in the first quarter.

The Rams’ first possession ended with a punt from their own 24 yard line. The Knights punted on their next possession as well. The Rams got two first downs on their second possession, but it ended with a punt that went to the Knights’ 35 yard line. It was returned to the 50 yard line. The Knights managed a first down but the Ram defense allowed them only as far as the 35 yard line.

The Knights opened the second quarter with an unsuccessful 52-yard field goal attempt, and the Rams had the ball on their own 20 yard line. The highlight of the Rams’ possession was a 32 yard pass from quarterback Clint Dennhardt to Trey Hinote. The Rams made it to the Knights’ 40 yard line before going out on downs.

The Knights closed out their next possession attempting a punt from their own 34 yard line. There was a bad snap on the punt and the Rams had the ball on Kuemper’s 34 yard line. They scored five plays later as Colby Kafer carried the ball the final yard into the end zone. Leo Marques’ point after was good and the score was tied at 7-7 with 5:33 to play in the first half.

There was a penalty against the Knights on the kick-off after the TD and play started on the Knights’ 14 yard line. They punted at fourth down and seven on their own 28 yard line. They managed to recover the ball after the punt and with 2:25 to play the Knights had the ball on the Rams’ 43 yard line.

The Knights got one first down, but the Ram defense held and the Knights again tried a long field goal, this time 54 yards. The attempt was again unsuccessful and the Rams had the ball on their own 37 yard line with 39 seconds to play in the half. On the next play the Knights intercepted a Dennhardt pass and took possession on the Rams’ 29 yard line. They scored with 7.4 seconds to play in the half. Kyle Derner’s PAT was good and the first half ended with the Knights up 14-7.

The second half started with football as pretty as high school football gets, particularly from a team that won only one game last season. The Rams put together 15 plays to cover 81 yards to tie the game at 14-14 with 7:54 to play in the third quarter. Hinote and Wade Adcock caught Dennhardt passes along the way, and Dennhardt, Kafer and Jake Berns rushed for yardage.

The Rams were at third and goal on the 8 yard line when Dennhardt’s helmet came off as he scrambled to claim a bad snap. Per the rules, Dennhardt had to leave the field for a play. Sophomore Brent Riley, who had QBd the first series of the game, came back in to play. He passed to junior Lance Hughes deep in the end zone and scored his first varsity touchdown. The PAT was good to tie the game.

The next two possessions ended with punts for both teams. The Knights’ next possession ended when Ram junior safety Austin Delp intercepted a pass and ran it to the Knights’ 47 yard line. The Rams had back-to-back 5-yard penalties and were at third and 19 yards to go when Dennhardt passed down the sideline to Hinote for a 22-yard pass play. The Rams couldn’t move the ball farther and Marques kicked an unsuccessful 42-yard field goal. The Knights were whistled for unsportsmanlike contact and the Rams had another shot at scoring, but the Knights defense held.

The Knights got the ball back at their own 12 yard line. On the second play Nate Wendell carried the ball 22 yards to put his team at their own 44 yard line. The third quarter ended there with the score tied at 14.

The Knights’ possession ended with a punt. The Rams’ next possession ended with a pass interception that gave the Knights the ball back on their own 40 yard line. Both teams punted again, but on the next drive the Knights had the ball at the Rams’ 47 yard line. Caden Pedelty ran 31 yards to put the Knights within easy reach of a touchdown. A pass into the end zone was good but was nullified by a 10-yard holding penalty against the Knights that moved the ball back to the 17 yard line. The next pass was good, though, and after the PAT the Knights were leading 21-14 with 3:38 to play in the game.

The Rams had one last possession. Dennhardt left the game due to injury and Riley finished the game. The possession ended with a punt with a little more than a minute to play. The Knights did not score again.

Unofficially, the Rams had 272 yards of offense, with 236 yards through the air. Hinote caught nine passes for 152 yards. The Knights had 250 yards of offense with 178 in the air.

Greene County struggled on the ground, gaining just 36 yards. They went to the air where they found success with 236 passing yards for a total offense of 272 yards.

Kuemper is a non-district game for the Rams. They play the Harlan Cyclones next Friday in Jefferson in district play.

Stats courtesy of The Scranton Journal: Junior quarterback Clint Dennhardt  completed 16 of 26 pass attempts for 209 yards. He was intercepted twice. Sophomore Brent Riley tossed four completions in nine attempts for 27 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown to junior Lance Hughes. Sophomore Colby Kafer dove into the end zone from one yard for another GC score. Senior Leonardo Marques kicked both PATs. Senior Jake Berns ran for 23 yards while Kafer totaled 18.

Junior Trey Hinote was the top receiver, pulling down nine passes for 152 yards. Sophomore Carter Morton caught three aerials for 27 yards; senior Wade Adcock, three for 24 yards and senior Jordan Patterson, three for 22 yards.

Junior Austin Delp snagged an interception with a 14-yard return. He punted four times for 107 yards. Marques kicked off three times for 149 yards. Sophomore Xavier Hayes kicked off twice for 28 yards and sophomore Nick Breon returned a punt five yards.


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