By Patrick Cochran
The Ram’s thoroughly defeated Chabot in the NorCal Semi-Finals.
After their 47-20 victory on Saturday, Nov. 22, the Rams will advance to the Northern California Championship next weekend versus American River College, the only team to defeat the Rams this season.
Chabot put up a fight, but the Rams dominated most of the game. An effective passing attack balance with a physical rushing attack allowed the Ram’s to control the tempo of the game.
Rams quarterback Anthony Rodriguez threw for 238 yards and one touchdown, but sustained an injury in the third quarter. Rodriquez had to sit for the rest of the game, and his status heading into the NorCal Championship is still in question.
“He has to get an MRI and then we will see what happens,” said head coach George Rush. “The game changes depending who is in at quarterback, so we have to find that out.”
Backup quarterback Jeremiah Peralta stepped up and was able to guide the Rams to victory while throwing for 56 yards.
“It was tough seeing Anthony go down,” said Peralta. “I hope he is back next week. I was prepared thanks to our coaches, they always make sure to prep all of our quarterbacks.”
“Jerry stepped up, and took the lead at quarterback,” said running back Jahray Hayes. “He hasn’t taken many first string snaps, but he came in there and did his thing.”
Hayes played an instrumental role in the game, rushing for 141 yards and 4 touchdowns on 29 carries. Hayes set the tone early for the Rams, scoring their first two touchdowns during the first ten minutes of the game.
The first touchdown was an eight yard run that capped off a 10 play, 74 yard drive while the second score was a three yard rush that ended a three play, 32 yard drive.
All afternoon Hayes dropped his shoulder pads, and drove his body into the Chabot defenders. His longest rush of the afternoon was only for 19 yards, but that isn’t Hayes style.
Instead Hayes consistently wears down the defense with runs of four, five, or six yards. Hayes is the embodiment of the old football saying “three yards and a cloud of dust.” If Woody Hayes were still alive, seeing Hayes play football would give the coach a smile on his face.
“I have to thank my offensive line, they played great,” said Hayes “We came out with the win, it wasn’t too pretty, but it was a win.”
Late in the first quarter Chabot scored on an electrifying 33 yard run by Tahir Rasheed-Mills. Rasheed-Mills is a top-flight athlete, who has a bright future in football. Whether it was running the ball, going deep for a big catch, or returning kicks, Rasheed-Mills caused headaches for the Rams all afternoon.
Rasheed-Mills’ best play of the game came six minutes into the fourth quarter when he had a 67 yard touchdown rush. Getting the ball on the sweep to the left, Rasheed-Mills showed off his blazing speed when he blew past the Ram’s defenders while he tip-toed his way down the sideline.
The touchdown momentarily made the Ram’s worried, who up until that point had held a commanding 44-14 lead. With the game’s score now at 44-20, the Rams hunkered down and played tough defense the rest of the game.
The Ram’s defense made a number of big plays during the game.The team had a total of four sacks, and safety Shalom Luani made a key interception in the third quarter.
Chabot ran a fake punt play, with punter Miguel Estevan getting the snap and then hesitating for a moment, before he cocked the ball back and began to scan downfield looking for an open receiver. Releasing the ball down the right sideline, Luani read the play and ran toward the ball. Jumping up, Luani caught the ball while it was on a downward arch and returned the interception for 22 yards.
After the game the Rams learned that American River College had just defeated Butte 20-17 to advance to the NorCal Championship. When the Rams faced off versus American River on Sept. 27, they were handed their only loss of the season when they were defeated 13-0.
“The key to success is how we practice together. I am proud of how we played today but we have to play better than that for the NorCal Championship.” said coach Rush.
The NorCal Championship will be on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 1 pm at home. The Rams are the top ranked seed, while American River is seeded at number two. Both teams possess a 9-1 record, with the Rams also being champions of the Bay 6 Conference.
“We are in the game we want to be in,” said coach Rush.
Win next week and the Rams are one victory away from their ultimate goal for the season, another championship in the trophy case.