Tough Stretch Leads To Tough Game For Rams


Elijah Tolbert catches a touchdown pass against Brighton

Nason Jones, Staff Writer

The first region game for the Rams football team did not go as hoped on Friday night, September 3rd , losing 51-21. But the score does not tell a complete story.

The score seemed very different from how the Rams played, however, as the Rams actually had a chance to really push Brighton. The game looked completely different during the first half until a rough stretch for the Rams during the second quarter.

The Rams were looking strong from the first quarter with them just a touchdown behind of the Bengals after a touchdown pass to Elijah Tolbert. After a deflection by Ashton Olevao on third down forced the Bengals to try and get the Rams defense to jump offsides. Showing discipline, the Rams defense held back and left the Bengals to punt. The Rams then moved down the field with two big passes, one to Zedrick Fifta, and another to Olevao, setting themselves up in Brighton territory, down 14-7, early in the second quarter.

That’s when things fell apart.

A big hit in the backfield caused a Rams fumble that was recovered by Brighton. During the next series for Brighton, the Rams nearly had an interception in third down but settled for what everyone thought would be a fourth down punt by Brighton. But a questionable unsportsmanlike penalty gave Brighton a first down. On the very next play, the Bengals scored on a long catch and run, putting them up 21-7. The Rams went into a downspin, unable to recover in what was setting up to be a close game.

“I’ve preached to the guys just try and keep the momentum which means try not to do anything dumb,” Highland coach Kautai Olevao said. “That’s something that needs to be corrected mentally with our team.”

Throughout the game, the Rams faced constant pressure in the backfield with quarterbacks Ashton Zwick and Peizge Mailei to have little-to-no time to throw the ball. This also led to multiple holding penalties, hurting the team’s chances of scoring. Coupled with the loss of starting quarterback Ashton Zwick during a play in the 2nd quarter in which it appeared he was hit illegaly by a Bengal, the Rams struggled to keep up with the high-scoring Bengals. The hit on Zwick had the Highland team furious by the missed call. Zwick had to be taken out for the rest of the game.

More penalties followed for the Rams including a different unsportsmanlike call on both sides, a dropped snap, and several sacks that gave the Rams no room to work.

“Penalty’s kill it, if there is anything that kills the momentum is penalties and mistakes,” Olevao said.

The Rams did bounce back at the end of the game with two scoring drives, led by backup quarterback Malilei.

Wide receiver and saefty Josh Mayeda talks about how the team was able to rebound.

“We just knew we had to keep our heads up, keep playing, keep hustling hard and that we’d make the plays,” Mayeda said. “…We just knew that we were playing good, we were just hurting ourselves.”