September 20, 2001

Tigers Fall To #4 Ranked Rams 26-0 In Conference Gridiron Clash

The football contest Friday night proved to be a defensive battle as the Schuyler County Rams showed why the team was ranked #4 in the state as the Rams shut out Scotland County 26-0 to drop the Tigers to 1-2 on the season.

SCR-I held its own against the top ranked team early on as the two teams locked in a defensive struggle. The Tigers defense has played well all season and continued the trend early on.

The Tigers held the potent option offense of Schuyler County in check, limiting the ground game of quarterback Matt Oliver and forcing the Rams to go to the air.

That proved beneficial early on as Oliver's second pass attempt of the game was picked off by cornerback Aarron Holt and returned past mid field.

The momentum did not last long for SCR-I as the Rams defense showed its strength as well. The Tigers had two runs stuffed before a key penalty ended any chance for a drive by SCR-I. Holt hit Kirk Stott on a long pass play that appeared to put the Tigers in scoring position but the play was called back on a holding penalty. That forced the Tigers to punt.

The Rams had similar penalty problems on their next drive. A big run play was called back on a holding penalty on Schuyler County. That again forced the Rams to go to the air where the Tigers defense came up with big plays as Brooks Small and Holt both broke up pass attempts forcing the Rams to punt.

Neither team got much going on their next possessions as the defenses buckled down and both teams traded punts.

The Tigers were winning the field position contest in the punting game as they backed up the Rams and then took over at mid field after the Schuyler County punt. However the team quickly went the wrong direction courtesy of a costly clipping penalty and a pair of quarterback sacks that moved the ball all the way back to the 25-yard line.

That forced a Tigers punt and in turn gave the Rams good field position. But the defense again answered the challenger. The Tigers got excellent end play on defense as Robbie Miller and Joel Myers did the job of containing the option game. Myers tackled Oliver in the backfield and forced a fumble that helped stall the Rams drive and ultimately forced a punt.

However the Tigers offense could not get on track and went just three downs before being forced to punt. It finally caught up with SCR-I as the snap sailed past the punter Tim Robinson into the end zone. The freshman was able to gather the ball and tried to kick but the punt was blocked out of the back of the end zone resulting in a safety.

So the Rams were on the board with a 2-0 lead with just over seven minutes left in the first half. That was all the momentum Schuyler County needed as the Rams took the ensuing free kick and mounted the team's first scoring drive of the contest.

Oliver found his grove in the passing game and picked up a key first down pass play. The Rams went back to air again and Oliver connected on another long pass all the way to the Tigers six-yard line.

Josh Lindquist took the ball in from there on the next play with a six-yard touchdown run. The point after kick was good, giving the Rams a 9-0 lead.

But Schuyler County was not finished there. With just over three minutes to play in the half, Schuyler County showed extreme confidence in the defense as the coaches began using their time outs even though Scotland County had the ball. The strategy worked as SCR-I was forced to punt and the Rams had enough time left to move the ball to the 18-yard line. Miller came up with a big play for the Tigers as he knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage to prevent a Schuyler touchdown. The Rams settled for a 35-yard field goal by Willie Sanchez to make the score 12-0 at half time.

The Tigers offense was held to just 58 yards (only 23 yards if you figure in the 25 yards lost on quarterback sacks) and three first downs in the first half.

After a slow start the Rams offense got rolling, mainly due to the 95 yards that Oliver picked up through the air late in the half. Schuyler County was held to just 74 yards on the ground.

Schuyler County started right where it left off to open the second half. The Rams defense intercepted an SCR-I pass to set up excellent field position at the 15-yard line.

Three plays later Lindquist took the ball in from one-yard out for the touchdown. The PAT was good, giving the Rams a 19-0 lead.

The two teams traded punts on the next possessions before SCR-I mounted its best drive of the contest.

The Tigers moved the chains courtesy of a big gain on a screen pass to Stott. Myers picked up the next first down with a strong run. Jarrod Talbert took over from there with another first down run. But the drive bogged down close to the end zone and the Tigers turned the ball over on downs with 2:29 left in the third period.

The Rams put the finishing touches on the night with a long drive. Oliver finalized the move as he found Trent Small in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good to put the Rams on top 26-0 to open the fourth quarter.

The two teams closed out the contest with the junior varsity teams on the field. Tim Robinson led a Tigers drive into scoring position late but SCR-I was unable to punch the ball into the end zone.

The Tigers finished the night with just 10 first downs on offense. Holt completed four of nine passes for 24 yards and one interception. Stott caught a pair of passes and Tim Buford and Brooks Small each had one reception.

Talbert led the rushing game with 36 yards on 11 carries. Aaron Dale was held to 19 yards on nine carries. Robinson had 31 yards on eight carries.

On the other side of the ball, Schuyler County racked up some solid offensive numbers despite picking up just 16 first downs. Oliver completed seven of 13 passes after a slow start, covering 112 yards and including a touchdown pass. He also rushed for 53 yards on 13 carries. Lindquist finished with 95 yards on 14 carries to go along with the two TDs. As a team the Rams neared the 200-yard mark in rushing.

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