Heading into week 4, the customary start of conference play for most area teams, if someone had told a Rams fan this could be a key game in determining a GMC Champion, they would have thought you were crazy. What we got Friday Night in Antwerp was a highly intense, very competitive game on the gridiron on a perfect night for football.
As the Rams headed over to Antwerp for the GMC opener, a much improved, highly talented Archer team awaited. This Antwerp Archer team headed into tonight with a 2-1 record, averaging 44 points per game. Also, ahead of the Rams defense was sophomore QB Carson Altimus, as well as a slew of talented receivers.
Things stared off with a bang on the Tinora defensive front. 32 seconds into the contest, Tinora linebacker Christian Commisso broke through, sacking Archer QB Carson Altimus in the endzone for a safety. The Rams quickly lead, 2-0.
The Archers bounced right back as Archer wide out Kaden Recker took a screen pass 70 yards, down to the Tinora two-yard line. Altimus then took it in from there, giving the Archers a 7-2 lead midway through the first quarter.
The game would remain tight as the half was winding down. After a short Antwerp punt set the Tinora offense up with great field position at the Antwerp 25, the Rams offense drove down to the Archers two-yard line, that’s where Tinora RB Brandon Edwards punched it in, giving the Rams an 8-7 lead at the half, the XP was no good.
The third quarter was relatively quiet as the quarter was closing, Tinora still leading 8-7 Both defensive units were playing great all night long.
Plagued by high snaps all night long, the Archers offense was backed up near their own goal line, as Antwerp punter Jagger Landers was awaiting a fourth down snap, it sailed way over his head, out of the end zone for another Rams safety. Tinora led 10-7 as the third quarter came to an end.
The high-flying Antwerp Archers offense again took the field to start the final stanza. With the Tinora frontline applying pressure all night, and the Rams defensive backfield playing very well, Carson Altimus and the Archers looked to take the lead. The Rams D was up to the challenge, forcing another Archer punt.
A huge third down conversion from Rams QB Nolan Schafer to wing back Cole Anders fueled this Rams drive. With the Tinora ground and pound finally working, the Rams marched for inside the Archers 10-yard line.
In a bit of Tinora trickery, Tinora’s Cole Anders again stepped up, taking a KP Delarber hand off 8 yards for a score, the Rams led 16-7 with just under over four minutes remaining. The XP was again no good.
Unfortunately for Antwerp, they used all 3 timeouts on the defensive side on the Rams drive, leaving them with zero remaining.
The Archers would not go quietly. Marching downfield, the Archers scored on a 22 yard pass and catch from Altimus to Kaden Recker with 60 seconds remaining. XP was good, Tinora led 16-14.
The Rams aligned all the good hands personal up front as the Archers prepared the onside kick. Archer kicker Trayce Lengacher unleashed the perfect kick, fortunately for the Rams, sophomore Brayden Roesti stepped up and fielded the kick before taking a big hit from the Archers special teams.
Roesti held on to the ball, Schafer took a knee in victory formation the next two plays, giving the Rams the win over the Archers 16-14 in a fantastic conference opening game.
The Tinora offense churned out 21 first downs, 284 total yards, and 214 yards on the ground.
Antwerp finished with 14 first downs, 202 total yards, -11 rushing and 213 passing.
Antwerp’s Carson Altimus threw for 210 yards on 40 attempts, completing 17, the Rams D also held
the Antwerp attack to negative 11 yards on 18 carries. (Altimus missed a play and was replaced by Derek Hines)
The Tinora defensive did a great job against this Archers offensive machine, limiting the Archers to just 17 plays on 18 yards during the second & third quarters. The Rams ran 29 plays during this same period.
All was not roses for the Rams however, two missed XP as well as a blocked field goal were thorns for the Tinora special teams. 11 penalties for 111 yards also hindered the Tinora Rams.
Tinora improves to 3-1 and will host Wayne Trace (1-3) next week.
A much improved Archer team falls to 2-2, and will play @ Fairview (1-3) next week.
The Higbea Embroidery Player of the Game award goes to sophomore Brayden Roesti. Roesti not only took a big hit fielding the onside kick, but also played great in the Rams defensive secondary.
Nolan Schafer 8 of 16 for 75 yards
KP Delarber: 22 for 124 yards
Christian Commisso: 13 for 67
Brandon Edwards: 7 for 37 – 1 TD
Cole Anders: 2 for 8 yards – 1 TD
Anders: 3 for 24 yards
Cole Commisso: 2 for 18 yards
Christian Commisso: 1 for 14 Yards
Edwards: 1 for 1 yard
Delarber: 1 for 15 yards