|Rams declaw Cougars in opening game|
|Friday, August 19, 2011|
By Adam Brown
Tuesday marked the start of fall middle school football. It also marked the beginning of a new era at Rucker-Stewart Middle School, as newly appointed Head Coach Bobby Beasley fielded his Rams for his coaching debut. Having not won a single game a year ago, the Rams looked to take the field against the Ellis Middle School Cougars. When the final whistle sounded, Beasley and his Rams earned their first win in two seasons, 22-0.
“I was proud of our kids tonight,” said Beasley. “We came off the ball hard and played well. I am extremely proud of our defense tonight. It was a good win for Rucker.”
Though Rucker allowed 63 yards on the night defensively while keeping the shutout on the board, the Ram offense found its stride as well. Rucker rushed for 265 yards on 34 carries and added another 36 on 2-6 passing, to eclipse the 300-yard total mark for the contest.
Each squad stumbled in their first two possessions. Rucker, however, found their swagger on their third offensive possession, marching 62 yards on 10 plays to post the first score of the night. Marcus Devault handled the majority of the load on the drive with eight rushing attempts for 36 yards, including a four-yard dive with 7:14 remaining in the second quarter, for the season’s first touchdown for the Rams. Christian Campbell added the two-point conversion for a 7-0 lead over the Cougars.
Devault ended the night with 24 rushing attempts and 152 yards to lead the Rams offensively.
Rucker added another score before the first half would come to a close. After Ellis went three and out, courtesy of a three-yard sack by Ryhiem Crawford of Cougar quarterback Drew Ferguson, Rucker took possession on their 30-yard line with 4:38 remaining in the second quarter.
Seven plays later, Campbell found room off the right side, from his quarterback position, for a 26-yard scamper and the second score of the night. The two-point attempt failed, leaving the score, 14-0.
Ellis saw yet another three and out on their ensuing possession, despite a nine-yard pick-up on first down by runningback Jack Towe.
The contest would enter halftime shortly thereafter with Rucker ahead, 14-0.
“We were able to take control of the line of scrimmage,” said Beasley. “That is what we wanted to do from the first snap. I couldn’t be more proud of the way our offense came out and placed those two scores on the board in the first half.”
At the start of the second half, Ellis showed signs of life. After forcing a turnover of downs of the Rams’ offense, the Cougars took possession on their 35-yard line with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter. From there, they managed their longest drive of the night. Towe had runs of four, one, and nine on the drive. Ellis picked up their second first down of the night on the drive, but an incomplete pass on third and a gain of zero yards on fourth placed the ball back in Ram possession late midway through the fourth quarter.
Rucker’s final score came late in the contest. Elijah Smith, who had only one carry on the night, took full advantage of his first, as he raced 52 yards down the left sideline for the final score of the evening. Smith also added the two-point conversion to post the game’s final score, 22-0.
Leading the way for Rucker was Devault’s 152-yard performance. Campbell finished with 49 yards on six carries and passed for 15 yards as well. Brandon Street had two totes for 11 yards.
Ellis was led by Towe. He had 15 rushing attempts for 53 yards. Ferguson ended the night by going 4-8-0 in the passing game, good for 18 yards.
“It feels great to get the first win. It is all for the kids though; they worked hard for this,” added Beasley.