Rams lose 31-12 against ranked Dallas Center-Grimes

(Stats added Monday)

The Greene County Rams, after losing the first two games of the season, played with the “heart” new coach Mitch Moore has talked about since his arrival when they traveled to Grimes to play the 3A third-rated Dallas Center-Grimes Mustang. After being down 21-0 at halftime, the Rams scored twice in the third quarter as the Mustangs scored once. The Ram defense held the Mustangs scoreless in the fourth quarter until the last four seconds. The Mustangs put up a final field goal to put the final score at 31-12.

It was the first district game of the season. The Rams are 0-1 in Class 3A District 2 and 0-3 overall. DC-G is 1-0 in the district and 2-1 overall. Last week they ended Pella’s 42-game winning streak.

In the first two games of the season the Rams fell behind early in the first quarter. This time the Ram defense holding the powerful DC-G offense and the game was scoreless after one quarter.

The Rams were able to cheer when, with about seven minutes to play, sophomore Nick Breon intercepted a Damon Clapper pass to give the Rams the ball on their own 49 yard line. A penalty against the Rams moved the ball back five yards, but the Rams claimed a first down on a sophomore Colby Kafer run. The Rams were first and 10 on the DC-G 35 yard line.

Before the next play the Rams were called for two 15-yard penalties – a personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct – moving the ball back to their own 35 yard line. Clint Dennhardt’s pass was incomplete to put the Rams at second and 34. On the next play Dennhardt passed to Kafer. Kafer ran out of bounds and was tackled there, incurring a 15 yard penalty against the Mustangs. So, the Rams ended up on fourth down and four yards to go back on the DC-G 35 yard line. The Rams got as close as the DC-G 18 yard line, but a pair of penalties against the Rams moved the ball back to the DC-G 31 yard line. On a fourth and 20 on the DC-G 31 yard line Dennhardt punted the ball and a touch back gave the Mustangs the ball on their own 20 yard line.

During the second quarter the Mustangs proved why they’re ranked No. 3 in 3A football. After getting no first downs in the first quarter the Mustangs found 10 in the second quarter and scored 21 points.

The Mustangs scored with 9:13 to play in the second quarter. The 11-play, 70-yard drive included a 40 yard pass by senior quarterback Damon Clapper to senior Tanner Epple. Clapper finished the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. The point after kick was good and the Mustangs were up 7-0.

The Mustangs scored again five minutes later on a 9-play, 60-yard drive. The Mustangs were at first and 10 on the Rams’ 18 yard line but a pair of penalties backed them up to the Ram 31-yard line at first and 23 yards. Clapper made quick work of it with a pass to Garrett Belzer on the goal line. With another Austin James PAT the Mustangs were up 14-0.
The Rams punted again on their next possession and the DC-G offense had the ball on the Ram 48 yard line. They scored 10 plays later, with the last play a 37 yard pass to Thomas Erickson. The PAT was good and the score was 21-0 with 24 seconds to play in the half.
The Mustangs had a total of 204 yards of offense during the first half; the Rams had 72 yards.

In the third quarter DC-G and the Rams punted on their first two possessions. On the Mustangs’ second possession Ram junior Clayton Smith intercepted a pass a the DC-G 22 yard line and ran 15 yards to put the Rams in charge of the ball on the 8 yard line. At fourth and goal, still on the 8 yard line, Leo Marques attempted a field goal. The kick was blocked and Mustang Tyler Cooney took the ball and ran 72 yards to the end zone for the fourth Mustang touchdown. With the PAT the Mustangs were up 28-0 with 5 minutes to play.

The next three minutes belonged to the Rams. Junior Nic Breon returned the kick-off 82 yards on an old-fashioned criss-cross play, making it all the way to the DC-G 8 yard line. The Rams were knicked for a penalty, putting the ball back on the 18 yard line. Dennhardt connected with senior Jordan Patterson for a pass and scored a touchdown. Marques missed on the PAT, and the score was 28-6.

DC-G returned the kick-off 88 yards to the end zone, but a penalty nullified the TD and the ball was spotted on the 32 yard line. Smith again intercepted Clapper’s pass and ran 23 yards to score. Sophomore Cael Fisher attempted his first PAT but missed. With 2:14 to play in the third quarter the score was 28-12.

The Ram defense held the Mustangs on downs on their next three possessions, and the Mustang defense also held. With about two minutes to play DC-G had the ball on the Rams’ 27 yard line, but the weary Ram defense didn’t quit. Finally, the Mustangs kicked a field goal with 4 seconds to play, increasing their margin with a final score of 31-12.

The Rams ended the game with 89 total yards of offense, 83 of them through the air. Dennhardt was 15 for 27 in passing. Patterson was the leading receiver with 24 yards, followed by Trey Hinote with 16 yards and Kafer with 15.

Senior Jake Berns was credited with seven solo tackles and 10 assists. Smith had five solos and 10 assists, and senior Charlie Gunn had four solo tackles and five assists.

Delp punted nine times at an average of 33.2 yards. His longest punt was 43 yards. Breon returned three kick offs at an average of 32.3 yards per return.

The Mustangs racked up 385 yards of offense, 274 of them rushing and 111 through the air.

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