Rams head to ‘Punch Bowl’ after gutty win

Rams running back Andre Patterson looks to juke Santa Rosa's defensive back Terrance Brannic. ANNE-MARIE STARK / GUARDSMAN

By Bonta Hill

In a game that came down to the last play, the Rams defeated the Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs in a thrilling victory to win their fourth straight game 23-21.

“Our offensive line matured and pass-blocked real well today. [Kevin] Vye did a nice job throwing the ball,” said Head Coach George Rush. “They had a high powered offense and they eked out 21 points. I’m very pleased with the way we played.”

Santa Rosa came into the game averaging 45 points per game and over 450 yards of total offense and started things off quickly as they took the opening kickoff 75 yards to go up 7-0 on a six-yard touchdown pass from Bear Cubs quarterback Adam Froman to receiver Matt Larson.

The Rams answered right back with Vye hitting tight end Melvin Blue for a juggling seven-yard touchdown, evening the score with Santa Rosa. Vye finished the game 12-19 for 124 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.

“I’m starting to feel more comfortable with this offense,” said Vye. “We had a really good game plan today.”
The Rams took a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter with kicker Jens Alvernik’s 27-yard field goal. After a Bear Cubs’ fumble, five plays later Rams running back Andre Patterson scored from a yard out, giving the Rams a 16-7 lead. The Rams would go into halftime leading 16-14.

Skipping ahead to the fourth quarter, the Bear Cubs attempted a 37-yard field goal that was blocked by the Rams, with Devin Mays returning the ball to the Bear Cubs’ 21-yard line. Two plays later, Vye hit receiver Darius Bright in the back of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown, bringing the Rams to 23-14 with 10 minutes left in the game. The Bear Cubs answered right back with a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Froman to make the score 23-21.

Cornerback D.J. Gomes made his fourth interception halting another Bear Cub drive, but with the offense stalling, Rams punter Alvernik made some great kicks to keep the Bear Cubs pinned deep in their own territory.

“Those interceptions were key points in the game, but I thought our special teams were absolutely outstanding,” Rush said.

The Bear Cubs took over on their own 4-yard line with 3 minutes remaining, and Froman made some huge plays that brought the Bear Cubs to the Rams five-yard line.

With 16 seconds to go, Santa Rosa completed a pass in the middle of the field but with the Rams swarming the Bear Cubs receiver at the 4-yardline, and Santa Rosa having no timeouts left, the clock ran out, sending the Rams rushing the field in celebration.

“We didn’t give up on each other,” said Mays. ” We were 1-2, defending national champs with our backs against the wall, but we took it one game at a time. “That’s what we did.”

The Rams will next host the Hawaiian Punch Bowl, facing off against San Joaquin Delta on Dec. 6 here at home in Rams Stadium.

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