Rams win scrappy homecoming game against Atlantic Trojans

The Greene County Rams beat the Atlantic Trojans and incoming rain in their homecoming football game at Linduska Field Friday evening. The game was moved up to 5 pm due to thunderstorms in the weather forecast. A light drizzle started soon after the game ended.

The game was more of a battle than many fans expected, with the Trojans bringing a 2-4 record while the Rams went into the game with only one loss on the season. The Rams have shut-out two opponents, with enough points in each game to go to a continuous clock. This time, the Rams didn’t have a comfortable lead until two minutes remained in the game. The final score was 35-21.

The Trojans were the first team to put points on the scoreboard, scoring on an 11-play 68-yard drive that started in the first quarter and ended with a touchdown by Chase Mullenix with 9:55 to play in the second quarter. The drive included the first “trick” play of the game. Mullenix is also the Trojans’ punter. On fourth down and 8 yards to go on the Ram 43 yard line the Trojans set up to punt, but Mullenix instead passed. The Rams didn’t see the pass coming and the Trojans kept going. The point after touchdown was good and the Trojans were ahead 7-0.

The Rams answered quickly. Clint Dennhardt returned the Trojans’ kickoff to the Trojans’ 49 yard line, giving the Rams good field position. Dennhardt, who played his sophomore and junior seasons as quarterback, played wildcat in the drive. It took just four plays to make it across the goal line. The drive included a 31-yard pass play to Hinote and a 5-yard penalty against the Trojans before Dennhardt ran 16 yards to score. Cael Fisher’s kick for the extra point was good and the score was tied at 7.

After the Trojans’ next possession a short punt gave the Rams the ball at the 50 yard line. The Rams took eight plays to score, with Dennhardt in as QB the first two plays and Riley back in as QB with the Rams at first and 10 on the Trojans’ 35 yard line. The Rams’ last 24 yards to score came as a 23-yard Dennhardt run followed by a 1-yard Dennhardt trot across the goal line. Fisher was good again on the PAT and the Rams led 14-7 with 4:13 to play in the half.

The Trojans tied the score with 1:04 on the clock. The drive included another trick, this time with Mullenix flicking the ball to his younger Collin, who passed it back and Chase ran down to gain 48 yards. The drive ended with a three-yard run by Tyler Moen. Moen kicked the PAT and the score was tied.

The Rams were very close to scoring again in the first half, thanks to a 40-yard pass play to Lance Hughes. The Rams were at second down and goal with 12.7 seconds in the half but the Trojans’ defense held and the score at halftime was 14-14.

The Trojans had the ball first in the second half. They started on the Rams’ 26 yard line. They made four first downs and used up more than six minutes on the clock before they scored on a 36-yard pass play to Moen. After the PAT the Trojans held a 21-14 lead.

The Rams answered again, this time on a four-play, 46-yard drive. The Trojans used an offside kick on the kick off, not the first time in the game, but this time the Rams were ready and claimed the ball on the Trojans’ 46 yard line. All 46 yards were on the ground with Colby Kafer running 38 yards across the goal line. After the Fisher PAT the score was tied again at 21 with 5:34 in the third quarter.

The Trojans started their next possession on their own 25 yard line. They made it out to the 50 yard line when the Ram defense held them on downs. The Rams then made it to the Trojan 27 yard line and tried to convert on fourth and 4. The Trojan defense held, and their offense started their drive with a 32-yard pass play. That’s where the third quarter ended.

The Trojans were again eating the clock and grinding their way down the field. On fourth and 8 on the Ram 16 yard line Ram Will Hansen knocked down a pass to give his team the ball again with 7:13 to play in the game. Dennhardt played wildcat, and with the powerful running of Kafer the Rams scored. The last play of the drive was a 52-yard Kafer run. He was alone on the field once he got to the 25 yard line with good blocking by Kole Teeples. With the PAT the Rams were ahead 28-21.

They stretched the lead to 35-21 with 2:12 to play in the game. The Trojans’ drive ended with Hansen again knocking down a Mullenix pass on fourth and 5 at the Trojans’ 34 yard line. The Rams stayed on the ground again and took three plays to score. Kafer ran the ball to 2 yard line and Dennhardt took the ball over the goal line. After Fisher’s PAT the Rams were up 35-21.

Carter Morton ended the Trojans’ next possession when he intercepted a long pass on the Rams’ 32 yard line with 1:00 to play. The Trojans had another chance to score, though, because the snap was bad on the first play from scrimmage, the ball got loose, and the visitors recovered. They were unable to move the ball and the game ended with the Trojans at third and 13 on the Rams’ 33.

Total offense was more balanced than in any other Ram game this season, with the Rams at 411 yards and the Trojans at393 yards. The Rams relied on their rushing game after many incomplete passes early in the game. The Rams tallied 279 yards of rushing in 32 carries. Riley was fie of 18 passing but still completed for 132 yards. Kafer and Dennhardt were the leading rushers for the game.

Chase Mullenix was 14 of 27 passing for 254 yards in the air. The Trojans rushed for 139 yards in 48 attempts, with Mullenix and Moen as the leading rushers.
The win puts the Rams at 2-1 in Class 2A District 9 and 6-1 overall. The Atlantic Trojans are 0-3 in the district and 2-5 overall.

The Rams travel to Red Oak next week for a 7 pm game. The Red Oak Tigers took a 4-2 record (2-0 in the district) into Friday night play against Kuemper Catholic.

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