By Patrick Cochran
Unable to make the playoffs, the Rams still found a way to finish their season on a positive note. On the road to Sacramento City College in a season ending bowl game, the Rams absolutely demolished the Panthers in a 55-21 win.
Quarterback Zach Masoli played outstanding in his final game as a Ram and from the get-go was in control. On the game opening drive, Masoli led the Rams 63 yards down the field in eight plays and finished off the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin Fox Jr.
The Panthers would respond with a touchdown of their own on the next drive when quarterback Jayden Machado, completed a three yard touchdown pass to receiver Jordan Moore.
The Rams countered with three straight scoring drives. Kicker Greg Thomas got the first score when he nailed a 36-yard field goal towards the end of the first quarter to cap off a 13 play, 64-yard drive.
Isaiah Floyd got the next score when he burst through the defense into the end zone for a five yard rushing touchdown. The offense only had to drive ten yards for the score thanks to an opportune interception by defensive end Jonathan Pohahau.
Quality special teams play set up the next touchdown. Stopped on offense, the Rams were forced to punt. Punter Louis Headley booted the ball 34-yard downfield. Panthers receiver, Jonas McMillan, muffed the punt and Ram’s linebacker Kobie Beltram recovered the ball at the Sacramento 14-yard line setting the Rams up with easy field position. Five plays later Masoli ran into the end zone on a one yard quarterback sneak to put the Rams up 24-7.
Things would looks dicey for the Rams during most of the second quarter. On back-to-back drives the Panthers would score. On both of them quarterback Jayden Machado would find receiver Carl Marc open for the touchdown. The first one was a 42-yard strike and the second one went for 16-yards to put the score at 24-21 with a little over four minutes left in the first half.
After the brief scare, the Rams would reestablish control of the game. On the very next drive the Rams would march 68-yard down the field in five plays and finished off the drive with a six yard rushing touchdown by Floyd. Which put the Rams up 31-21. Masoli completed four out of four passes on the drive, including a 25-yard pass to receiver Leroy Elliot Jr. to start it off.
The Rams dominated the second half. The defense played outstanding, shutting the potent Panther offense out and made a series of big plays that set the offense up with easy field position.
The Rams scored their first touchdown of the second half when Masoli found Elliot Jr. open for a 36-yard pass.
After a Bejour Wilson interception, the Rams drove the ball 39-yard for a touchdown to put them up 45-21. Floyd scored his third touchdown of them game when he banged his way into the end zone on a one yard rush.
The special teams unit made another outstanding play when cornerback Cedric McAfee, blocked a Sacramento punt giving the Rams the ball at the Panther ten yard line. Floyd scored his final touchdown of the game after he got another one yard touchdown run.
Kicker Greg Thomas scored the game’s final points when he hit a 39-yard field goal with 7:34 left in the fourth quarter to put the Rams up 55-21.
Masoli finished the game 22-36 with 295 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Floyd ran for 136 yards on 25 attempts with four touchdowns. Elliot Jr. led the team in receiving with 9 catches for 130 yards and one touchdown.
With the 55-21 win the Rams finished the 2017 season 8-3.