SPRING MILLS — Trent Risley got the ball under center and rolled to his right looked downfield.
All of a sudden the Bucktail senior quarterback spun around and threw back across his body to a wide-open Willie Hopkins, who grabbed the ball and followed his blockers downfield on a screen play that worked to perfection against the Penns Valley defense.
A successful two-point conversion put the Bucks up eight early, but those points would stand alone on the scoreboard until the 49 second mark of the third quarter — the next time the Bucks would cash in on a scoring drive.
After turning the ball over on their first offensive series of the night, Penns Valley transformed into an offensive juggernaut and scored 36 unanswered points on the way to a 58-26 win over the Bucks.
After the initial possession, the Rams found the end zone on five of their remaining six drives in the first half and built a 36-8 lead heading into the locker room. And it wasn’t just the fact that they had turned a deficit into a commanding lead in what seemed like no time at all; it was the way that they did it.
The Rams broke big plays for scores and their success on the ground allowed for them to dial up some pass plays that ultimately lead to the perfect combination of offensive success.
“I think it was a case of taking what was there for us,” Penns Valley coach Martin Tobias said. “We were able to take charge and control the line of scrimmage and open up some holes. The guys up front did a nice job and that presented some seems for our guys to get loose and run.”
In the first half alone, the Rams had racked up 170 yards on the ground. They finished with 383 rushing yards on and featured four backs that had more than 50 yards each.
The tandem of Taylor and Chase Collison provided the Rams with 190 yards on the ground and two scores. Quarterback Cameron Tobias added an 89-yard touchdown run and junior running back Wyatt Sharp contributed 56 yards on the ground and two scores. Sharp also had a 41-yard touchdown reception on a screen play.
After the screen play, Penns Valley got even on Sharp’s three-yard rush and conversion run. The Rams took the lead for good on the final play of the first quarter as Cameron Tobias fired a 56-yard touchdown pass to Luke Weaver.
Leading 15-6, the Rams extended the margin to 28 points at the break on Sharp’s screen TD, Sharp’s 14-yard run and Tobias’ 89-yard jaunt.
Coming into the game, Ransom knew that his undersized team was going to be in for a tough and admits that the game got away from his Bucks quickly on defense.
“Definitely on defense, we knew across the front size, speed on the edges with their receivers, the fact that (Cameron) Tobias is a three year starter at quarterback, he just throws lasers, he reads the defense perfectly,” Ransom said. “Our secondary guys, we had two freshman in the cover one, cover two scheme, the matchups were definitely in their favor, so our game plan was we needed to keep our offense on the field. We did what we needed to do offensively, it’s just defensively that’s what happened, so that was crucial.”
In total, the Bucks allowed the Rams to account for 512 total yards of offense and gave the Rams whatever they wanted. Of the eight times the Rams found paydirt, six of them were courtesy of scoring plays that were of at least 40 yards apiece.
There was not one time in the second half that the Rams put the ball in the air. They played the entire second half on offense by strictly running the ball and still generated 213 yards of offense. In the end, Ransom’s team had no answers for a Rams’ squad, who with the win, got back to the .500 mark on the season.
“It didn’t matter if they were first and ten or third and long, they have the ability on us with matchups to score at any point on the field,” Ransom said. “They have a nice group and in reality they’re 4-4 now, they’re only a couple plays away from being 5-3 with that Huntingdon lose, but then they were in a couple other ball games as well. So they’re a pretty solid AA squad.”