Rams win gridiron opener 14-6 vs Perry Blue Jays

The Greene County Rams and the Perry Blue Jays opened the football season with the 90-year-old Battle of the Cowbell. The bell has been in Perry since the Blue Jays won in OT a year ago. It will be in Jefferson for the coming year following a 14-6 victory in Perry.

The Rams scored first with 1:01 to play in the first quarter. It took the Rams nine plays to cover 84 yards, made more difficult by two penalties, one of 10 yards and another one of 5 yards. The Blue Jays helped by incurring a 10-yard penalty that gave the Rams a first down on the Perry 40 yard line. The drive included five complete passes by junior quarterback Brent Riley, including the final play of the drive, a 24-yard pass to senior receiver Lance Hughes. Junior Nick Breon kicked the point after touchdown and the Rams were up 7-0.

The Rams scored again with 10:42 to play in the second quarter. The drive started on the Perry 42 yard line but penalties of 11 and then 15 yards against the Rams moved the ball back so that it was a 77-yard pass play, Riley to junior Carter Morton, that scored the TD. Breon kicked the PAT successfully and the score was 14-0.

With just more than 6 minutes to play in the second quarter, Ram senior Clay Smith intercepted a Kaleb Olejniczak pass to give the Rams the ball on Perry’s 44 yard line. A short pass and then two carries by senior Clint Dennhardt took the Rams across the goal line, but the TD was called back by a penalty. Penalties against the Rams continued and the turned the ball over on Perry’s 27 yard line.

The Blue Jays punted and Nick Breon returned the punt to Perry’s 42 yard line. This time when the flags were thrown it was against the Blue Jays and the ball was moved to Perry’s 27 yard line. Dennhardt carried five yards on the first down, but Riley then threw three incomplete passes and the Rams lost the ball on downs with just more than a minute to play in the half. The Blue Jays were unable to score and the half ended with the Rams up 14-0.

The Rams were their own worst opponent in the first half. They were called for 13 penalties for a total of 133 yards. They were flagged for a variety of infractions, including giving an incorrect signal for a fair catch on a punt and offensive pass interference. Despite that, the Rams had 259 offensive yards in the first half. The Blue Jays were called for two 15-yard penalties, but several tackles in the backfield left them with only two yards of offense yardage in the first half.

The third quarter was a different sort of game. The Blue Jays and the Rams punted on their first possessions. On the Blue Jays’ second possession, they attempted a fake punt that appeared to work except the Ramirez went out of bounds and Perry was short of a first down. Riley and Hughes hooked up for a 15-yard pass play, but the next two Ram possessions ended with interceptions. The Blue Jays weren’t able to score and the quarter ended as it began, 14-0 in favor of the Rams.

The Blue Jays made it a one possession gam with a TD with 6:28 to play in the fourth quarter. A six-play, 57-yard drive ended with Blue Jay senior Justin Stammer on a 2-yard run into the end zone. Perry tried a two-point conversion but didn’t make it, and the score was 14-6.

The Rams’ next possession started on their own 29 yard line after a good punt return by junior Xavier Hayes, but the officials’ flags were flying again. The Rams were at third down and 30 yards on the Ram 9 yard line when Riley and Hughes hooked up for a 31-yard pass play. Five plays later the Rams were at third and 9 on Perry’s 18 yard line when Riley passed to Hughes in the end zone. The pass was complete but Hughes was out of bounds. A pass on fourth down was incomplete and the Blue Jays had the ball back on their own 18 yard line with 46 seconds to play.

The game ended 14-6. The Rams had 19 penalties on the game and Perry had eight.

QB Riley completed 17 of 39 pass attempts for a total of 248 yards. Dennhardt led the team in rushing with 80 yards on 16 carries. Morton, Hughes and Trey Hinote had four pass receptions each, with Morton totaling 111 yards, Hughes at 72 yards, and Hinote at 43 yards.

Defensively, junior Will Hansen had four solo tackles with three of them for lost yardage. He also had three assists. Senior Clayton Smith had seven tackles, one for a loss, and four assists. had four solos and three assists. Senior  Bryce Hoyle had three solo tackles and five assists.

The Rams have their home opener next Friday, Aug. 31, against the Nevada Cubs.

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