By Gene Thompson
The 2023 Rams’ dream of a state football championship ended in a nightmarish 41-6 massacre by the American River College Beavers in the Northern California Regional Playoffs in Sacramento on Nov. 25.
The Rams, crippled by the absence of several highly productive players , were a ghost of the team that dominated opponents throughout most of the season and achieved a 9-1 record.
The Rams’ star quarterback, Dorian Hall, a speedster with an accurate arm, did not play in Saturday’s playoff game. No announcement explained his absence, but in the Rams’ loss to College of San Mateo two weeks before, Hale was blasted with a clean, ferocious hit, left the game a few plays later, and did not return.
Jack Miller played well enough in Hale’s place, though he lacked Hale’s speed and innovation. He also lacked the familiarity with his receivers that comes from playing every week. But most of all, Miller lacked protection. Again and again, the Beavers’ defense penetrated the Rams’ line to sack, hurry and harass the replacement quarterback. The Beavers also held running back Tyrei
Washington to 3 yards rushing.
Miller’s job was made more miserable because both of his starting wide receivers, Max Rodarte and Jeremiah Crum, were inexplicably not in the game.
The Beavers scored three touchdowns and a field goal in the first two quarters to lead the Rams 24-0 at halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, the Rams drove effectively to the end zone to finally get on the scoreboard. They attempted a two-point conversion but failed, leaving a score of 24-6.
But the Beavers did not let up, adding 17 more points as the Rams’ dream of being champions took on the cruel reality of defeat.