Drew Ravenelle #11 pitches the ball. Linda Flibbert photo.
By Steev Riccardo
Worcester – The Shepherd Hill Rams football team accomplished something they had never done before when they beat the St. Peter-Marian Guardians 14-12 in Worcester this past Saturday afternoon in front of a huge crowd.
The 2-0 Rams have vaulted in recent Central Mass polls and are being regarded as one of the region’s superior teams and a win like this will only further their standing among the big boys.
The game was originally scheduled to be played Saturday night at Anna Maria College but was moved to St. Peter-Marian’s field due to the threat of the West Nile virus. Unfortunately, the field was not in great shape, but that managed not to be an issue in the game.
The Guardians took a 6-0 lead with 3 minutes left in the opening quarter to get on the board first.
The two teams then went on to battle for field position the rest of the first half with the defenses rising to the occasion every time either team threatened, resulting in no scoring in the half.
On one drive late in the second quarter the Rams pounded the ball down field behind their strong offensive line and the running of Brad Picard and Matt Vertucci and held the ball for seven minutes, but were stopped at the Guardians 7- yard line when they went for it on fourth down.
Vertucci put the Rams on the board during the second play of the third quarter when he broke free from the pack and ran 69 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Rams had tied it at 6-6.
The Rams threatened again moments later after holding the Guardians when Vertucci provided another spark with a 44-yard run, but the Guardians defense held them on the one-yard line when they once again went for it on fourth and goal.
The Guardians then put together a 99-yard scoring drive, which was aided by some key penalty calls on the Rams, to take a 12-6 lead with 5:49 left in the game. Fortunately for the Rams in what turned out to be a key defensive play, Drew Ravenelle came up with a big play, breaking up the two-point conversion by the Guardians, which would have given them an eight-point lead.
Ravenelle and the Rams wasted little time getting the score back as the senior quarterback went 36 yards on a keeper and brought the Rams within two points. Calm and collected as ever, Ravenelle then ran in for two more points on the conversion and the Rams led 14-12 with 4:48 left on the clock.
Following a pair of seven-yard gains by the Guardians, senior middle linebacker Chris Dutting made the defensive play of the game, picking off a pass and giving the Rams the ball back with 3:30 left.
The Guardians had one more chance with less than a minute left, but huge sacks by James McGuigan and Laudone GianLuca secured the Rams’ win.
Rams Head Coach Chris Lindstrom had high praise for his team after the game. “I think the determination of our players and the effort from them and just the will not to lose today was wonderful. This was a big obstacle to overcome, they have great athletes and we have workers and that’s okay and that is what we do. It was the players today, it certainly wasn’t the coaches.”
“When you run the double wing you have to come to play every game or you are going to get hurt,” said Lindstrom. “They (the Rams) came to play. We (the coaches) made a bunch of changes at half time, they listened to us and they went ahead and executed.”
Ravenelle, who managed a brilliant game for the Rams, was feeling pretty good afterwards. “There were a lot of things today that went against us but that is what makes us a great team, we can overcome that. Penalties are going to happen.”
“This is one of the best wins we have ever had here, the feeling I have today is just incredible,” said Ravenelle, who also praised teammate Matt Vertucci after the game “Matt is one of the hardest workers on the team and he is one of the best at finding the holes and it showed on those two long runs.”
Defensive star Chris Dutting, who made the huge interception, feels that the Rams beat a very good team in the Guardians, “This team is usually one of the tougher teams we play. I know because after we play them I am usually in pain and want to crawl into bed.”
Dutting may have crawled in bed a little sore after this one, but he also probably had a smile on his face this time around.
The Rams will take on another very good team next Saturday afternoon in Dudley when they tangle with the Grafton Indians.
Rams players and coaches with the scoreboard that tells the story. Linda Flibbert photo.
Ram Brad Picard (#47) and Jake Gelb (#27) on defense. Steev Riccardo photo.
- Sunday, 16 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News