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Varsity Football Struggles in Homecoming Game

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Varsity Football Struggles in Homecoming Game

Rams and Gettysburg lined up at the line of scrimmage

Rams and Gettysburg lined up at the line of scrimmage

Rams and Gettysburg lined up at the line of scrimmage

Rams and Gettysburg lined up at the line of scrimmage

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On October 5, the Varsity Football team took on the Gettysburg Warriors at home in their Homecoming Football game. The game started with both teams playing a tightly contested game. Gettysburg ended up winning in a blowout 45-7, handing the Rams their fourth loss of the season.

“We were very confident going into the game if we played our responsibilities and read our keys, that we would be successful. However, Gettysburg is a good football team and we made them look better than they actually were in the second half with critical mental errors by our team,” head coach Christopher Grube said looking back at the game.

Coming into this game, the Rams were looking to break the two game losing streak they were on. The Rams had lost to York Suburban and Dover and were looking to snap their losing streak with a win against Gettysburg.

To start the game, Gettysburg received the opening kickoff.

The Rams’ defense came out strong tackling Gettysburg for a loss on the first play of the game. On second down and 12, Gettysburg got backed up due to a holding penalty.

Then, on third and 22, the Rams defense stopped the Warriors, forcing them to punt the ball to the Rams’ offense.

With about six and a half minutes to go in the first quarter, the Warriors’ defense stopped the Rams on fourth down, getting the ball back with the game tied at 0-0.

“We were moving the ball well and it was first and 10 and decided to run a play action pass, and we did not protect like we should, which resulted in a sack. It was an 8 yard loss. So, when the opposing team knows it’s second and 18, you are giving the defense an advantage to play soft coverage.

“We tried to pound the rock and were unsuccessful, and it resulted in a fourth and 10. We drew up a play for [Joshua Vipperman] to get the ball over the middle, and [Noah Hulslander] threw the ball low for an incomplete pass. Josh had two steps on the defender, and he probably scores on that play if we get the ball to him.  I could tell that frustrated Noah based off of his reactions coming to the sideline. He struggled Friday going 3/17 passing, but we believe in him and know he can get the job done for us,” said Grube when reflecting on the first drive of the game.

On the second play of the Warriors next drive, junior Wyatt McCleary stripped the ball away from the Gettysburg running back. Gettysburg looked as if they would score had McCleary not forced the fumble.

After the fumble, the Rams next drive ended in a punt back to the Warriors, giving Gettysburg a great field position in result of a poor Rams punt.

With the first quarter winding down, Gettysburg punched into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game, taking the lead 7-0.

Starting the second quarter, junior running back Joshua Vipperman went for a long running play, giving the offense some momentum.

Then, on fourth down, needing just four yards to keep the drive alive, senior quarterback Noah Hulslander threw a great pass to senior wide receiver Garrett Lowe for a first down. Two plays later, Vipperman ran another long run, but the play got shortened due to an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Rams.

In the red zone, on fourth down, Hulslander was unable to complete a pass for a first down giving the ball back to Gettysburg. The unnecessary roughness penalty proved to be costly and the Rams were still not on the scoreboard to that point of the game.

On the first play of the next Gettysburg drive, they dropped a wide open pass that most likely would have gone for a touchdown had they caught the pass. Gettysburg ended up punting, proving the dropped pass to be crucial.

The Rams executed on their next drive and got into the red zone.

Then, with a little under three minutes left in the first half, the Rams scored a touchdown and tied the game at 7-7.

About a minute later, on a long running play, the Warriors scored a touchdown to take the lead 14-7 with enough time for the Rams to tie.

Gettysburg forced a fumble to end the Rams next possession, still with enough time to take a two possession lead before halftime.

The Warriors started their next drive with great field position coming off the forced turnover.

On the second play of the next Gettysburg drive, it seemed as if they had scored a touchdown, but a holding penalty voided the play.

However, that penalty did not stop Gettysburg from getting near the end zone.

Then, with seven seconds left in the first half, Gettysburg scored a touchdown to take a two touchdown lead at halftime 21-7.

“I thought we played a good first half of football. We had some critical mental errors and penalties that halted drives that resulted in not putting points on the board. The score should have been 14-7 Rams leading at halftime, instead it was 21-7 Gettysburg leading,” Grube said.

The Rams received the kickoff to start the second half, giving them a perfect opportunity to get back into the game.

However, that opportunity went for naught, and the Rams’ first drive of the second half ended with a punt. Gettysburg blocked the punt and got the ball on the Ram’s five yard line giving them a chance to score another touchdown.

On the next drive, the Rams defense played well being backed up against their own endzone. The defense stopped Gettysburg on third and goal, but Gettysburg elected to go for the touchdown on fourth and goal, but did not convert.

On the first play of the next Rams drive coming off the forced turnover on downs, Hulslander threw a dart of a pass to Lowe. Later on in that drive, the Rams failed to convert on a fourth down.

The Gettysburg defense stopped the Rams short of the first down marker, and took possession by virtue of the turnover on downs.

However, the Rams’ defense stopped the Warriors on third down of their next drive and forced a Warriors punt. The Rams fumbled the punt return, and Gettysburg recovered, a really crucial turnover in that part of the game.

Gettysburg took full advantage of that fumble and later scored a touchdown to extend their lead to 28-7 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

Then, about a minute later in the fourth quarter, the Rams fumbled again, and the Gettysburg defense recovered. A few minutes later, Gettysburg kicked a field goal, and led 31-7.

On the next Gettysburg possession, the Rams defense forced a fumble and recovered. However, the Rams did not execute following the fumble and punt back to Gettysburg.

A few minutes later, Gettysburg scored another touchdown, extending their lead to 38-7.

Again, the Rams next drive ended in a punt back to the Warriors.

With about two minutes left in the game, Gettysburg got on the board again, scoring a touchdown to once again extend their lead to 45-7.

The Rams got the ball one more time before the end of the game, but did not score, and the game ended with the Warriors winning 45-7.

When asked if Grube thought the game was a blowout, he said, “I would not consider it a blowout. The score does not dictate how the game was actually played. Statistically, we played better than them (we had more offense), but they took advantage of our critical errors on our punt team and won the battle of field position. We put our defense in bad positions.”

Senior linebacker Ryan Gibney also noted that the team did make mistakes that they should not have, but the score does not necessarily reflect how the team played.

About the Writer
Michael Zabkowski, Sports Editor

I am a senior this year, and I am the sports editor for the newspaper this year. My academic interests include mostly sports. Two years ago, I joined the...

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