Rams take out frustrations at Penns Manor
KENWOOD– Not only did the Penns Manor Comets have Mother Nature to deal with, they had a fired up Laurel Valley football team coming off its first loss of the season.
Put the two together and you have a resounding 41-0 shellacking by the Rams (3-1) Sept. 18.
“We came out strong and were able to jump on them,” said LV Coach Jerry Page. “We just had a determined bunch of kids. It was great to see them rebound from a tough loss last week.”
“Take your hats off to Laurel Valley,” praised PM (0-4) Coach Dave Leasure, “to lose a game like they did last week (to United 9-6), find out you have to play on a Thursday night and to play as hard as they did.”
The Rams offense, which has been less than stellar all season, rushed for a season high 289 yards and five TD’s.
Jon Shetler and Phil Fuller accounted for all five TD’s and 254 of those yards. The pair of seniors each rushed for 127 yards.
These two teams came into the contest near the bottom of the conference in offense. The Rams were averaging only 181.3 yards of offense and only 107 yards rushing. But everything was clicking on this night.
“We made very few mistakes and when you do that, this is the type of outcome,” said Page, “and of course we had Jon Shetler back and that helped tremendously with our running game.”
The Rams scored on their first four series of the game to put it away early. Their first score came on a three play drive. After Fuller carried twice inside, Shetler got outside and raced 47 yards for the TD with 7:56 left in the first quarter.
LV got the ball back four plays later and this time drove 61 yards in eight plays.
Shetler again was the catalyst as he carried four times for 48 yards in the drive, scoring from a yard out with 1:48 left in the first period. Scott Saxton ran for the conversion and a 14-0 lead.
The Rams came into the game leading the conference in takeaways (14) and they added to that total with three more, two fumbles and an interception.
A Chris Smithley interception set up the Rams’ third TD of the game. One play after the interception, Fuller took the ball off right tackle and went untouched for a 56 yard touchdown with 9:47 left in the first half.
“(LV) plays strictly with pride and that’s not a knock against them,” said Leasure. “They are all pride and that is why they win. The difference between them and us is that right now we are hoping to win and they know they can win.”
It would only be one more play before the rams got the ball back, this time Brian Jones recovering a fumble for the Rams at the PM 35. Fuller carried the ball four times for 28 yards in the drive, scoring from four yards out with 6:26 left in the half. Smithley passed to Justin Dickert for the conversion and a 28-0 lead.
Things would not get any better for the Comets in the second half. Ryan Perry took the second half kickoff and broke through the defenders on his way to an 82 yard return, just 13 seconds into the second half.
While the Rams offense was in high gear, the defense continued to play well. They did not allow the Comets inside their 30 yard line all night.
“I thought the defense was outstanding overall again,” said Page. “I don’t know how many yards we gave up, but we didn’t give up any points and that’s the bottom line.”
“Laurel Valley is a solid football team that is well coached and they have a tremendous attitude and work ethic and that’s why they win,” stated Leasure.
Another Comet fumble led to the final TD. This time Jason Plummer recovered for LV on the Comets 23. Three plays later Shetler scored from 11 yards out with 5:14 still left in the third period. Dickert booted the PAT to set the final score.
The Rams outrushed the Comets (289-85) and had more first downs (15-9). The Comets completed two passes for 20 yards, while the Rams only threw a single pass.
“I told the kids after the game, that everything that can go wrong for us, has so far,” Leasure said. “We lost our best receiver a couple of weeks ago (Jake Altemus) and then Evan (Landis) went down tonight.”
“This was a real nice bounce back win for the kids,” said Page,” I hope the Landis boy is OK for them and the coaches told me they thought he would be.
“We have five tough games left and I hope we’ll be ready next week.”
The Rams will return home Saturday to face the Homer Center Wildcats. This will be the Homecoming game for LV.