Rams open gridiron season with 54-0 win over Perry

QB Brent Riley tosses the ball to Nick Breon (23) | Scranton Journal photo

The Greene County Rams opened the 2019 football season Friday in Jefferson with a lopsided victory over the Perry Blue Jays. Both teams fumbled the ball in the first minute of play, but the Rams dominated the rest of the game and claimed a 54-0 win.

The Class 2A Rams were favored to win, returning many experienced players from the 8-2 team that qualified for the playoffs last year. The Class 3A Blue Jays were 0-9 last year and have only three of last year’s starters on the team.

The Rams received the opening kick-off and began play on their own 20 yard line. Just 20 seconds and two plays later the Blue Jays recovered a Ram fumble and had the ball on the Ram 35 yard line. The Blue Jays fumbled on their first offensive play and the Rams had the ball back on the 38 yard line.

This time they held on to the ball, and with only 1:30 off the clock the Rams scored their first touchdown. Senior Colby Kafer ran two of the five plays in the drive, scoring on an 11-yard scamper that followed a 38-yard run near the sideline. Senior Cael Fisher made the PAT and the Rams were up 7-0.

It was on Perry’s next possession that the Ram defense showed their visitors what they were up against. The Blue Jays were at second down and 14 when senior Tyler Miller sacked Blue Jay quarterback Jacob Nelson. The Blue Jays were whistled for delay of game and it was third down and 22. At fourth and 21 Perry failed to get a punt off and the Rams claimed the ball on the Perry 22 yard line.

The Rams used six plays to score, with a pair of incomplete passes and a call against them for illegal procedure. At third and goal on the Perry 12 yard line senior QB Brent Riley connected with senior Carter Morton on a pass play for a TD. Fisher’s PAT was good again and the Rams led 14-0 with 4:34 left to play in the first quarter.

Carter Morton caught five passes for 94 yards. He didn’t catch the pass coming to him in this phot. | Scranton Journal photo

The second quarter began with the score still 14-0 and the Blue Jays at third and 10 on their own 41 yard line. Seniors Joel Ward and Nick Breon each sacked Nelson and the Blue Jays ended the possession with a punt from their own 46 yard line. The snap was bad and the Rams had the ball on the Perry 35. Riley was sacked on the first play from scrimmage. On the second play Blue Jay Wilber Ramirez intercepted Riley’s pass and ran 59 yards before Kafer made the tackle.

With 7:50 to play in the half the Blue Jays had their best field position of the game – first and 10 on the Rams’ 11 yard line. The Ram defense foiled their efforts to reach the goal line; at fourth and 19 on the Ram 20 yard line kicker Cori Alamina tried a field goal. Morton blocked the kick and the Rams had the ball again.

The Rams started on their own 24 yard line. They scored four plays later, with Kafer rushing on three plays to get the ball to the Blue Jay 13 yard line, and Riley taking the ball the final distance. Fisher’s PAT attempt failed and with 4:18 to play in the half the score was 20-0.

The final score of the half came with 2:30 to play. On the third Perry offensive play after the Rams’ score a Blue Jay fumbled; senior Joe Patterson recovered the fumble and ran five yards for a TD. Fisher’s PAT was good and the Rams took a 27-0 lead into half-time.

The Rams fifth TD came on three-play drive that covered 80 yards. Kafer hoofed 58 yards and Morton finished the drive with a 32-yard pass reception. Fisher’s PAT was good, and with 6:16 to play in the third quarter the score was 34-0.

The Rams scored again with 2:43 left in the third quarter, this time on a 56-yard, three-play drive that started with a Morton fair catch of a Blue Jay punt. The Rams had the ball on their own 44 yard line. Riley made a short pass to Breon, then connected with Morton on a 39-yard pass play, and handed it off to Kafer to run the ball the final 14 yards to the goal line. The PAT was blocked, but with the score at 40-0 the game clock ran continuously for the rest of the game.

On the first play after Fisher’s kick-off Breon intercepted QB Nelson’s pass and ran 26 yards for a TD. This time the PAT was good and the Rams were up 47-0 with 1:19 to play in the third quarter.

The Rams’ final score came with 10:19 left to play in the fourth quarter. Morton returned a Perry punt 70 yards to score, despite an apparent leg cramp for the last 20 yards or so. With the PAT the score was 54-0.

Ram coach Caden Duncan gave some of the less experienced members of the team playing time in the fourth quarter. Highlights were a pass interception and 8-yard return by sophomore Jackson Morton, and seeing sophomore quarterback Joe Carey play the last 3:25 of the game.

The Rams totaled 347 yards of offense while holding the Blue Jays to only 35 yards. The Rams compiled 216 yards rushing and 131 yards passing. Kafer rushed for 179 yards in nine carries and scored two TDs. Riley completed eight of 14 passes. Carter Morton was the top receiver with 94 yards in five Riley passes.

Kafer also led in solo tackles with four. Senior Tyler Teeples was credited with three solo tackles and Breon, Jackson Morton, and sophomores Bradyn Smith and Bryce Stalder were credited with two each. Breon and Smith were credited with three tackle assists.

The Blue Jays had 24 passing yards and 11 rushing yards.

The Rams play the Nevada Cubs in Nevada next Friday.

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