Week 5 recap: Rams rebound from early hole to blast Red Oak, 55-14
By BRANDON HURLEY
Red Oak had no business catapulting their way to a two-score, first quarter lead. The Tigers entered their week five contest with Greene County in the midst of a 16-game losing streak, yet, the southwest Iowa squad was in control early.
Until the Rams woke up, that is.
Comebacks aren’t necessarily the greatest recipe for sustained success, but for now, the Greene County Rams (3-2) will take what they can get.
A slow, steady build seems to be Greene County’s bread-and-butter as of late, once again charging back from a two-touchdown deficit, this time absolutely blitzing winless Red Oak with 55 unanswered points for a 55-14 victory Friday, Sept. 25.
It seemed as if Greene County’s rush defense was going to be the unfortunate culprit of another loss, allowing two, first quarter touchdowns for a 14-0 hole before spring-boarding to a commanding lead.
Greene County’s latest early game debacle was rather startlingly. Red Oak entered the Week 5 contest having yet to score more than seven points in a single game this fall (their 14 points against the Rams were the first time they cracked double digits), only scoring 20 points combined in the first four weeks.
The Rams have trailed in the first quarter in four straight games, miraculously recovering for an even .500 record during that span, including momentum-building, back-to-back wins, against Nodaway Valley and Red Oak.
This latest victory was yet again a testament to Greene County’s ability to respond to body blows, head coach Caden Duncan said. Perhaps it was the lingering effects of a long road trip (Jefferson is two hours northeast of Red Oak), or maybe the Rams just needed to get their footing. Whatever it was, Duncan was thrilled to witness such a quick turnaround.
“We were not focused at the start of the game. It was clear that we had very little energy and discipline,” Duncan said. “We made some adjustments and challenged the guys to step up, and then we took off from there.
Once we started executing and flying around on both sides of the ball it was apparent we were the better team and we took care of business.”
When Greene County finally gets off to a quick start, watch out. Friday’s triumph in a string of roller coaster contests has the Rams sitting comfortably at 3-2 overall.
Running back Jackson Morton flung Greene County out of the scoreless depths, punching home a touchdown to close the gap to seven midway through the first quarter. From there, it was all Rams, all the time. The GCHS rushing attack was a major point of success throughout the game, helping the visitors surge to a 27-14 halftime lead. The Rams only kept improving from there, piling on three touchdowns in the third quarter as part of a 28-point second half. That aforementioned rushing attack was Greene County’s most lethal of weapons, tallying a massive 244 yards and six touchdowns for a yards per carry average of 8.7. The 244 yards on the ground were Greene County’s highest-single game total of the year, led by a career-high 107 yards and two touchdowns from Nathan Black. Morton chipped in with 86 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including a long of 46 yards while he also corralled a team-high three catches for 68 yards.
Red Oak has now lost 17 straight games dating back to the 2018 season. They are 0-5 overall in 2020. The Tigers have lost all five of their games by at least 34 points.
Morton leads Class 2A, District 9 with six rushing touchdowns, while fellow backfield mate Black is tied for second with four scores. Junior quarterback Bryce Stalder, after throwing for 153 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another Friday, is tops in the district in both passing yards (661) and all-purpose yards (815). He is also second in total offensive touchdowns with eight and first in completions with 44
Black is third in rushing with 269 yards. Defensively, Bradyn Smith’s team-best 12.5 tackles in week 5 launched him into second in the district with 38 total tackles, ranking him 10th in all of 2A. Clarinda’s Cole Ridnour is first with 39 tackles, placing him in a tie for eighth in the state.
Freshman Nathan Behne is first in successful PATs with 15 while Black is second in touchbacks with four.
Just two weeks remain in a COVID-19-shortened, seven week regular season. The Rams are back home Friday in week six as they host Clarinda (2-3, 2-1 in District 9). The 2020 playoffs begin Friday, Oct. 16.