By Patrick Cochran
Facing off against Laney College under the lights in Oakland on Friday night, the Rams were able to defeat their bitter rival 31-13 in a slugfest of a game.
The win over their cross-bay rival wasn’t enough to completely satisfy head coach George Rush, who thought his team could of played much better. “It sucked. We had way too many penalties; we didn’t force turnovers; it was sloppy football when it shouldn’t of been,” Rush said.
Despite those initial complaints about his team’s performance, Rush did see some bright spots with how the Rams played on Friday.
“Our offensive line played real good tonight. They were in sync and were able to open up the running game for Jahray (Hayes). Jahray had an excellent night and made up for a lot of things,” Rush said.
Running back Jahray Hayes was one of the stars of the night. Putting in a work-horse performance, Hayes rushed the ball 39 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns.
Hayes, who showed up for the season at a robust 225 pounds, pounded the ball all night into Laney’s defensive line.
Dropping his shoulder often, probably close to half of his yards for the night came after initially making contact, an impressive feat for a running back. Laney defenders desperate to bring Hayes down would grab at any appendage available, but the muscle added during the offseason paid off and Hayes was able to shed his opponents attempts to tackle him almost at will.
“I feel alright,” Hayes said after the game. “My ankle has been better, after doing all that running, but you gotta do what you have to do to help your team win. It was to be expected, it always gets rough versus Laney.”
Five minutes into the second, half quarterback Anthony Rodriguez hit wide receiver Maurice McSwain on a 21-yard pass.
McSwain was able to beat the cornerback press at the line of scrimmage and then go one on one towards the end zone where he caught Rodriguez’s ball for the score.
The play was a great showcase of McSwain’s pure ability and showed the tempo the quarterback and wide receiver have with each other. McSwain ended the night with four catches for 64 yards and one touchdown.
Rodriquez had a solid performance for the Rams. Completing 13 out of 23 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown, Rodriguez was able to avoid making costly mistakes and did enough to help the Rams solidify their victory over their bitter rival.
“I was able to get help from my teammates. The offensive line did a great job protecting tonight, and that really helped us out. Because of that we were able to come out on top,” said Rodriquez.
The game should have been an easier victory for the Rams but some costly mistakes kept Laney in the game, including personal fouls that enabled Laney to keep drives alive.
Both teams received warning from the referees for behavior on their sidelines, with Laney eventually being penalized after multiple warnings.
The Rams next game on Sept. 20 is versus a tough opponent, Fresno City College, who will present bigger challenge than rival Laney.
If the Rams can avoid costly mistakes and force turnovers, the game shouldn’t present too much of a challenge. But if the Rams make the same errors they did on Friday night, the game can be expected to be much closer than the final score of the Laney game.