TONTOGANY – It was a Friday that Tinora Rams first year coach Eric Becker will remember forever.
His Tinora Rams traveled to The Castle to take on the Otsego Knights and the Rams gave him his first career victory at his Alma mater.
A warm, sticky night saw the Rams get off to a great start as their defense would give them an early lead as it saw Trenton Delarber take a tipped pass from Otsego’s Devin Farley 60 yards for a score. The XP was missed, but Tinora led 6-0 at the 4:09 mark of the initial quarter.
The Knights would grab a 7-6 lead from the Rams at the 9:40 mark in the second quarter as Farley would run it in from a yard out, the XP was good from Martin.
A good old fashion Tinora Rams football drive would see Grady Gustwiller carry the Rams down the field before Dominic Graziani would take it in from 5 yards out, Jacob Bishop’s XP would give Tinora a 13-7 lead with 5:59 remaining in the half.
Braydon Roesti would intercept another deflected Farley pass, giving the Rams the ball at their own 48-yard line with just under four minutes left in the first half.
Facing a key 3rd and 5 with just under two minutes in the half, Graziani would face heavy pressure from the Knights defense. He would see an opening and dash 35 yards for a Tinora score, the Bishop XP gave Tinora a 20-7 lead right before the half.
The Rams Gustwiller would tally 85 yards in the first half, while Graziani would run for 57 yards.
The Knights would take their initial possession of the second half and drive down the field on the Rams defense. Farley would hit Jack Simpson on 3rd and goal from the Tinora 13, the XP was no good, Tinora still led 20-13 at the 8:34 mark of the third quarter.
The Rams would come up big on defense on the next Knights series, stopping them on a 4th down. Tinora would take over at their own 32 with 7:25 in the quarter. Tinora would drive the field, faced with a 4th and goal as the quarter would come to an end with Tinora leading 20-13. A huge 3rd and 8 scramble and trow by Graziani to Bishop was a huge play midway in the drive.
As the fourth quarter started, Tinora faced a 4th and goal from the 2-inch line. Graziani called his own number, taking it in from a yard out, giving Tinora a 27-13 lead with 11:56 left in the game.
Midway through the fourth, the Rams defense again would come up big, stopping the Knights on 4th down deep inside Tinora territory. A 4th and 18 pass would fall incomplete with 5:50 left in the contest.
Otsego would try to get back in the game late in the game. The Knights would march down and poke it in from 1 yard out as Farley would run it in for the Knights score, cutting the Rams lead to 27-19 with 1:30 remaining. . Otsego went for the two point conversion and saw it fail.
Otsego would need an onside kick recovery to have a chance. The Knights Farley would line up as the kicker for the onside kick. He would send a rocket deflecting off one of the Rams, fortunately for Tinora, several Rams jumped on the ball for a Tinora recovery.
Otsego, with just one timeout remaining, was not able to stop the clock before seeing the Rams run out the remaining 60 seconds for the win.
Congratulations to Coach Becker on his first career win as Tinora head coach.
Pics courtesy Jake Essig, Stacy Bailey, Tinora Rams Live
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