Coach Chris Lindstrom talks to his players
Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
WORCESTER – The football game between the Shepherd Hill Rams and the Doherty Highlanders this past Friday night at Foley Stadium was so good that people were still talking about it the next day at the Bartlett-South game, which was also played at Foley.
Fans, writers, players and even one Bartlett assistant coach, who during a break in his game asked me if I “saw that game last night.” It was that good.
In the end, it was the Highlanders, as they held the Rams on three straight plays inside the ten-yard line in the last 30 seconds to secure the win, but there was no way any of the players or coaches on either sideline could have left that field with their heads down.
The Highlanders wasted little time scoring on the second play from scrimmage on a 60-yard pass play from Luke Brennan to Isaac Yaidom to take a 6-0 lead, but when the Rams Gianluca Laudone blocked the extra point attempt, you knew right away that every play was going to be hard fought.
Senior co-captain Drew Ravenelle played well in the loss
The Rams capitalized on a Highlanders fumble and tied the game on senior co-captain Drew Ravenelle’s 4-yard run with 4:28 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Highlanders regained the lead early in the second quarter, but the Rams Tyler Simmons powered the ball home and made it 14-12 after a nine-yard drive highlighted by a couple of big runs by junior Jake Gelb.
Yaidom caught his third touchdown from Brennan and the Highlanders took a 20-12 lead into the half.
The Rams then put together one of their vintage ball possession drives to open the third quarter capped by a five-yard touchdown run by senior co-captain Brad Picard to come within two points. Simmons tied it up with a two-point conversion and we were looking at a 20-20 game with a quarter left.
The Highlanders could not be outdone and put together a seven-play drive to regain the lead 26-20. Gelb came up with a big defensive play stopping the two-point conversion.
Rams junior Jake Gelb scored one of the Rams touchdowns.
Gelb continued his superb play and sparked the Rams with a big 22-yard run and an eventual one-yard score. Ravenelle ran in for the two-point conversion and the Rams had their first lead of the game at 28-26.
The Highlanders then went to the Brennan-Yiadom combination for what was probably the play of the year when Yaidom leaped high between two Rams defenders in the end zone and came down with the ball and a 31-yard score making it 34-28 with 2:04 left.
The Rams had one more chance and they effectively moved the ball inside the Highlanders ten-yard line before being stalled on the three-yard line on fourth down and only six seconds left on the clock.
Somehow Rams head coach Chris Lindstrom was smiling afterwards and took it all in stride. “That was fun. I am pretty sure that we will see each other in a couple weeks. They are quite a football team and we got quite a football team also so it was a great battle. It was beautiful.
“We have to make some adjustments. They are fast and athletic and we are methodical, two totally different styles,” said Lindstrom. “They made the plays they had to make tonight to win.”
“That was probably the best football game that I have been a part of at Shepherd Hill. It was two very good football teams leaving absolutely everything on the field,” said Assistant Rams Coach Ryan Dugan.
“Both teams had tremendous performances across the board. We had two chances to punch the ball into the end zone from inside the five but Doherty made two outstanding plays,” said Dugan. “If we were able to gain those five yards, we would have been the ones celebrating and Doherty would have been in tears. The beauty of football is that a 44-minute game came down to just three yards.”
There is a very good chance that the Rams and the Highlanders will meet again in the playoffs in a few weeks as Lindstrom alluded to afterwards and if they do it could be another classic encounter, but first the 8-2 Rams have to deal with a very good Tantasqua Warriors team in Fiskdale on Thanksgiving morning.
Dugan reiterated the importance of that game. “They are a very athletic, talented team. They are always fired up to play us on Thanksgiving, and we will need to have a great week of preparation”.
The Shepherd Hill cheerleaders were in great form
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- Sunday, 11 November 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports