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Schuyler Rams Varsity Football versus Slater Wildcats- Friday, October 20, 2023
By Sara Smith
The Rams entered the ninth, and final, week of the regular season sitting at #1 in the district and #8 in the state with a record of 6-2. The goal for the Senior Night game was to stay in the top spot in the district, stay healthy, and get ‘the dub”. The Rams were facing off against the 1-7 Slater Wildcats.
If the Rams thought this would be an easy win they had another thing coming, as the Wildcats roared out of the gate with a 2-play drive for a touchdown on their first possession of the game. The Wildcats followed with a successful 2-point conversion giving them their only lead of the game at 0-8. The Rams answered with a 2-play touchdown drive and 2-point conversion of their own to tie up the game at 8-8.
On the ensuing onside kick, sophomore Mason Windy recovered the ball for the Rams, keeping the ball out of the Wildcats’ hands and putting it in the hands of the Rams trusted offense. The Rams relied on junior running back, Elliott Sevits yet again but this time it was for a 13-yard receiving touchdown. Senior wide receiver, Mayson Humphrey found senior quarterback, Connor Smith for the 2-point conversion and the Rams untied the game at 16-8, and the Rams never looked back.
The Wildcats did answer with another easy touchdown but were not able to convert the 2-point attempt, bringing them to within two points at 16-14. However, the Rams offense immediately answered with another 2-play scoring drive on a long touchdown run up the middle by Sevits, set up by a block by senior right guard, Noah Pross. It was on this drive that senior quarterback, Connor Smith exceeded the 2,000 yard passing mark for the season.
Senior Aden Snider contributed to the win with a recovered onside kick for the Rams. Once again, putting the ball in the hands of the Ram offense. Of the first six possessions of the game, the Rams possessed the ball four times. On the third play of the drive Sevits found running room that just wasn’t there for a 26-yard gain, followed up by another touchdown run and 2-point run by Humphrey. The Rams were off to the races with a 30-14 lead with 6:42 still to play in the first quarter. In an interview after the game Sevits was asked what he sees when running up the middle, he responded, “I just see a bunch of people coming at me.” He would also add that he gives “all credit to the line” as they seal edges and create seams for him to run through.
Still in the first quarter of play, the Wildcats fought their way back into the game with another touchdown drive to bring them to within ten points at 30-20 with 3:18 remaining in the first. However, the Rams offense took less than a minute to build their lead, again off the legs of Sevits and the blocks of Windy and Pross. Humphrey again found Smith for the 2-point conversion, extending the Ram lead to 38-20.
The Wildcats would mount another drive to try and answer, only to be dealt another blow as the ball sailed on the Wildcat quarterback, it was too high for his receiver, but it wasn’t too high for Sevits as he intercepted the ball, snatching it out of the air as he skyed above the receiver. This interception was likely the result of the repeated pressure on the quarterback by sophomore, Gus Williams, senior Karsyn Elliott, and sophomore Brody Weaver.
The Rams added insult to injury as they followed up the interception with a double-reverse flea flicker for a touchdown. Smith handed the ball off to Windy, who tossed it to Humphrey, who then tossed it back to Smith, who threw it 42 yards down the field to Sevits for a touchdown, stretching the Ram lead to 44-20 with :44 remaining in the first quarter.
In just the first quarter the Rams possessed the ball six times, scoring six touchdowns and five 2-point conversions. While the Wildcats possessed the ball only four times, scoring three touchdowns and one 2-point conversion.
The Wildcats were two plays into their fifth drive of the game when the first quarter came to an end. The drive continued into the second quarter and was to be riddled with penalties. Additionally, on the fourth play of that drive sophomore Brody Weaver sacked the Wildcat quarterback putting their back against the wall at third and 33. The Wildcats put together an impressive pass and catch only to have it intercepted by Sevits, yet again. If the first interception demonstrated his athleticism, this one demonstrated his strength, as he muscled the ball away from the receiver.
Another touchdown and 2-point conversion by the Rams later and the score is now 51- 20. The Wildcats were mounting their longest drive of the game to answer. However, the Ram defense was equal to the task as Pross, Weaver, and Williams kept up the pressure. Junior Isaiah Arnold, added to his tackle totals, and kept the Wildcats to short gains. On the 12th play of the drive, the Wildcats were at fourth and goal on the Ram 9-yard line, the pass in the endzone was broken up by Smith and the ball was turned over on downs.
On the following play from scrimmage, Humphrey turned a short screen pass into a 70-yard touchdown, which he followed up by a scamper into the endzone for a 2-point conversion. The Rams would lead 59-20.
The Rams were hitting their stride on offense and defense. The Wildcats didn’t get a single positive yardage play on their following drive as Williams sacked the quarterback on one play and Weaver pressured the quarterback on the next play, forcing the Wildcats to punt.
The Rams and the Wildcats would both score again before the half, leaving the score at 67-28 as the Senior Night halftime program would begin.
As a matter of record, the Rams would incur some unusual penalty yards in the second half, both for unsportsmanlike conduct, neither of which was the fault of the players on the field. The first 15-yard penalty was recorded before the third quarter began, as the Bighorn Brigade did not have time to finish their halftime performance and clear the field of play before the players were supposed to take the field. The second 15-yard penalty came at the end of the third quarter as the Booster Club was auctioning off an embroidered football and the bidding continued past the allotted time for the break between quarters. Neither penalty would affect the outcome of the game, but could have if the game had been closer. Thankfully, that was not the case.
Ironically, one of the most pivotal drives for the Rams didn’t even result in any points. The Rams would receive the ball at the beginning of the third quarter, when they put together a 15-play drive that would ultimately take up nearly all of the quarter. The benefit of the Rams 39-point lead at halftime was a running clock and the clock did not stop during this drive. The Rams would end up turning the ball over on downs on the Wildcat 4-yard line, with only 1:08 remaining in the quarter. This was the only drive in which the Rams did not score a touchdown.
The Wildcats would score two more times in the fourth quarter, but so did the Rams. The Wildcats final last-ditch effort to put points on the board was halted with an interception by Humphrey in the endzone. His interception and return would end up being the final play of the game, as the Rams would come out on top with a score of 81-42. The 81 points scored by the Rams was their highest point total of the season, a fitting end to the regular season.
The Rams end the regular season with a record of seven wins and two losses. They remained #1 in their district, earning a first round bye in the district tournament. Coach Corey Randall intends to spend the next two weeks of practice “sharpening the iron,” working to get even better. He also felt that the Rams had earned a couple of days off from practice this coming week. A well-deserved reward for a season of hard work.
The Rams will host the District Semifinal game on Friday, November 3 against the winner of the Paris at Knox County game this Friday.