Ram football season ends with loss to Benton Community Bobcats

The Rams post season game Friday against the Benton Community Bobcats in Van Horne didn’t go as they had hoped. The Bobcats got off to a slow start and the Rams held a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, once Benton senior Matt Davis went into gear, the game changed. Davis is the leading rusher in Class 2A.

Davis ran 49 yards for a touchdown in the first 32 seconds in the second quarter and caught at TD pass 10 minutes later. He ran 69 yards for a TD the first play of the second half and ran 79 yards for a TD on the Bobcats’ next possession.

Combining Davis’ running game, Dylan Spina’s punting skills, which didn’t allow the Rams good field position, and five Ram turnovers made a Ram victory unreachable.

The Rams got on the scoreboard first in much the same way as their game last week against OABCIG. The Rams had the ball first, with Nick Breon returning the kick-off to their own 29 yard line. The Rams took 13 plays to move the ball to the Bobcats’ 13 yard line. The Bobcat defense held the Rams there, but it was field goal range for Cael Fisher. Fisher’s 30-yard kick put the Rams up 3-0 with 8:01 to play in the first quarter.

The Ram defense thwarted the Bobcats on their first possession. A long punt gave the Rams the ball again on their own 8 yard line. The Rams picked up two first downs but stalled at their own 35 yard line. At second and junior quarterback Brent Riley was sacked for a 15-yard loss. Benton was called for defensive holding on the next play and the penalty put the Rams at first and 10 on their 44 yard line. Trey Hinote caught a pass for 29 yards, the Bobcats were penalized five yards for offsides, and Riley connected with Tyler Teeples to put the ball at first and 1 on the 18 yard line. In the next three plays Clint Dennhardt rushed for four yards, lost a yard and then rushed for 13 yards across the goal line. Fisher’s PAT was good and the Rams were ahead 10-0 with 2:03 to play in the first quarter.

The Rams got their first taste of Bobcat rusher Matt Davis when he returned the kickoff 40 yards. Fisher, after kicking the ball, was the Ram who finally tackled Davis on the 50 yard line. The possession ended with a punt that put the ball on the Rams’ one yard line and just seconds into the second quarter.

The Bobcats scored 10 points in the next 30 seconds to tie the game. On the Rams’ first play the Bobcats made the tackle in the end

zone to get on the scoreboard with a safety and the score was 10-2 with 11:28 on the clock.

After the safety the Rams kicked the ball off from the 20 yard line. With the Bobcats on the Ram 49 yard line Davis ran the ball to the end zone for a touchdown. Bobcat Jack Shaw ran for a two-point conversion and with 11:12 to play in the second quarter the score was tied at 10.

The Rams started their next possession on their own 28 yard line. Riley connected with Carter Morton on a 33-yard pass play to get the ball into Bobcat territory on the 40 yard line. Another pass to Morton moved the ball to the 31. A pass to Will Hansen and the Rams were at first and 10 on the Bobcat 17. After a penalty against the Rams for offsides the Rams found themselves at third and 14 on the Bobcat 21 yard line. Fisher came in to kick a 39-yard field goal to put the Rams up 13-10 with 8:43 to play in the half.

The rest of the game belonged to the home team. The Bobcats moved the ball just one yard on their next possession and punted from their own 27 yard line, putting the Rams on their own 41. At third and 11, still on their 40 yard line, Riley connected with Carter Morton on a 28-yard pass play. The Rams were called for an illegal block on the play and assessed a 15 yard penalty, putting them at third and 26 on the their own 25 yard line. They managed to pick up 11 yards but punted. A 41-yard Austin Delp punt gave the Bobcats the ball on their own 25 yard line. A 35-yard pass play was followed by a 40-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Clay Krousie and the Bobcats were ahead 16-13. Dylan Spina’s PAT kick was good and Benton was ahead 17-13with 4:05 to play in the half.

The kickoff was another touchback to the Rams’ 20. At third and 11 Bobcat Turner Schroeder intercepted a Riley pass and ran to the Ram 16. Three plays later Davis caught a touchdown pass and after another PAT the Rams were on the short side of as 24-13 score.
The Rams’ next possession ended with a Dennhardt fumble and the Bobcats had the ball again on the Ram 29 yard line with 1:59 to play in the half. The Bobcats were down to the Ram 17 when they were called for offensive pass interference, moving the ball back to the Ram 33. The Bobcats were at fourth and 18 and Krousie connected on a 21-yard pass, but the clock ran out. The score at halftime was 24-13.

The Bobcats wasted no time in the second half. They had won the coin toss to start the game and chose to have the ball first in the second half. Jack Shaw returned the kickoff to the Bobcat 31 yard line, and on the next play Davis got loose and tromped 69 yards for the TD. After the PAT the score was 31-13.

The Rams made two first downs on their first possession of the half, but a Riley pass was intercepted, giving the Bobcats the ball on their 18 yard line. In two plays, the second being a 79-yard Davis run, the Bobcats scored again. After the PAT the Bobcats held a 25-point lead at 38-13.

The Bobcats scored one more touchdown in the third quarter. That one took 10 plays to cover 79 yards. The final play was a 31-yard pass play to Nathan Michels. After the PAT the score was 45-13.

The Rams’ next possession was disappointingly short. Riley’s pass on the first play from scrimmage was intercepted. With 15 seconds to play in the third quarter the Bobcats had the ball on the Ram 42 yard line. This time, the Ram defense held the Bobcats on downs at the 8 yard line on a drive that took more than four minutes off the clock. The Bobcats kicked a field goal that went wide left and the Rams had the ball again on their own 20 yard line with 7:21 left in the game.

A penalty against the Rams for a personal foul moved them back to second down and 20 the 10 yard line. On the next play a penalty against the Bobcats for pass interference gave the Rams a first down on their 30 yard line. The Rams used six more plays to score a touchdown, with the drive including a nine-yard pass to Trey Hinote and a 20-yard Dennhardt rush. It finished with a 33-yard pass play to Will Hansen. Fisher’s PAT was good and with 4:52 remaining on the clock the score was 45-20.

Fisher did an on-side kick for kickoff and Ram Xavier Hayes ended up with the ball on the Benton 46 yard line. Two pass plays put the ball on the Benton 22 yard line before Riley’s pass was intercepted. The Bobcat reserves were in, and the ball was bobbled on the hand-off on the first play. Ram Brock Wuebker recovered the ball and the Rams had the ball again on the Benton 20 yard line. The Rams made it to the 5 yard line; at fourth and goal on the 5 Riley was sacked. The Bobcats had the ball on their 18 yard line with 2:10 to play. The game ended right there, on the Benton 18 yard line.

The Rams had 387 total yards of offense, with 287 of them through the air. Riley completed 27 of 45 passes for 60 percent, better than the 50.5 percent he brought into the game. The Rams’ 100 yards of rushing came in 29 attempts. Dennhardt rushed for 67 yards and Kafer rushed for 41. Riley tagged with -8 yards rushing. Morton was the leading receiver with 97 yards. Hinote had 70, Hansen had 56, Hughes had 27, Dennhardt caught for 24 yards, Kafer added nine yards and Teeples had four yard.

Defensive statistics have not been posted for the Rams.

The Bobcats had 492 total yards of offense. Of that, 356 yards was rushing, including 262 yards by Matt Davis. Quarterback Clay Krousie connected on nine of 20 passes for 42 percent, far below his season stat of 64.2 percent. Passing accounted for 136 yards of offense.

The loss ended the season for the Rams with an 8-2 record. The Benton Community Bobcats, now 9-1, will advance to quarterfinal play in Class 2A.

The Rams have much to be proud of in their 2018 season. The 2016 and 2017 seasons both yielded 1-8 records. The seniors who finished their high school football careers in Van Horne had won only two games until this season, having been winless as seventh, eighth, and ninth graders.

This was the second season for Ram head coach Mitch Moore. When he arrived in Greene County in the summer of 2017 he started all Greene County athletes on a year-round strength and conditioning program that seemed to pay dividends.

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