Holliday pulls away to eliminate the Rams
BOWIE — The Rams kept it close for almost two quarters but Holliday made a pair of big plays near the end of the first half to widen a gap that ended with the Eagles earning a 44-7 victory over S&S in a Class 3A Division II Region II area round game at Jackrabbit Stadium.
The best season the Rams (6-5) had experienced since 2014 came to an end but not before S&S made the playoffs for the first time in three seasons and nearly matched the seven total wins from 2017-19 during the past three months.
"Hats off to our seniors though for getting us to this point. This senior group led these guys since June 8," S&S head coach Josh Aleman said. "We’ve been going at it for almost six months. Those guys led us. I told them at the beginning of the year, it’s their season, it’s going to be what they do with it, and they stepped up to the plate."
Tyler Ruddell’s three-yard TD run gave the Eagles (11-1), who will face either Bells or Eastland in the region semifinals, a 14-0 lead with 2:12 left until halftime, and then Holliday’s defense forced a turnover two plays later. That led to Jaxx Johnson’s halfback pass to a wide-open Keegan Hutchins for a 24-yard score and a 21-0 advantage at the break.
“I thought we played a good 21 ½ minutes of football,” said Aleman, whose Rams fell to Holliday 55-7 in district a year ago. “With two minutes left, we get a turnover, they get a short field and score and all of a sudden, it’s 21-0 before we can blink. Against good football teams, you just can’t do that.”
It put S&S in a tough position to keep up in the second half. The Rams had two turnovers and only had six first downs until the final drive which helped them avoid the shutout.
"Hats off to their staff and their players, they had a great gameplan," Aleman said. "We’ll be back. We’re going to learn from those loss right here and hopefully come back and try to build something."
Holliday has won 11 straight games and is in the third round for the fourth straight year.
While six different Eagles scored, Johnson was the only player who had a hand in multiple touchdowns. Besides his pass on a trick play, the sophomore also scored from four yards out in the third quarter.
Hutchins led all receivers with four catches for 47 yards and a TD. Crosby Jurecek registered a sack and a fumble recovery as part of the defensive effort.
The Rams leaned heavily on quarterback Jake Reynolds, who finished with 101 rushing yards on 32 carries. Reynolds scored from three yards out with 2:38 remaining to end Holliday’s shutout bid. He also completed 8-of-18 passes for 83 yards. Cannen Fellegy had two catches for 37 yards and Daymon Orr added 22 yards on a pair of receptions.
The Eagles scored on three straight drives in the second half to increase their lead to 44-0 and also notched points on a safety due to a bad snap on a punt.
"You look at the ball game, we got beat on all three sides of the ball," Aleman said. "Coaching-wise, we’ve got to do a better job moving forward."
Class 3A Division II Region II