Ram’s Take Tough Close to the Season


Eliott Coda

Highland Football plays East High School in a home game loss on October 12th.

Nason Jones, Sports Editor

After a tough regular season finale against East, the Rams looked to redeem themselves in the first round of the playoffs on the road against Box Elder. In a tight game, Highland was poised to tie the score late in the fourth quarter but a late interception doomed the Rams as they fell short, 21-14.

The game started out on a rough foot for the Rams with Box Elder having all of its three scores in the first half. And the Rams’ offense didn’t seem to have an answer, with turnovers and punts limiting any progress to crawl back. Box Elder was looking like it was going to walk away with the game, but the Rams didn’t stop fighting.

Once they settled down, Highland looked like the better team. Highland coach Kautai Olevao believes nerves had something to do with the slow start.

“It was uncharted territory for us and our boys and they were pressing a little bit in the first half,” Olevao said.

The Rams, needing a response late in the first half, marched down the field. With under a minute left, Zedrick Fifita hauled in a 10-yard pass to but Highland on the board. Making it only a 2-score game with the Rams to kick off in the second half.

Moving into the second half, the Rams looked poised to come all the way back. The Rams’ defense provided this hope with holding the Bees to a swift three and out, forcing a punt. However, the Rams weren’t able to convert and were forced to punt as well. The two teams began what felt like a stalemate with each team making little-to-no yardage before needing to punt on fourth down.

It would continue that way until Highland’s Afi Tonga Fonua recovered a fumble by deep in Box Elder territory.

“We told the defense to stop pressing pressing and trying to do too much,” Olevao said.

Starting with the ball at midfield after the recovery, the Rams went on a strong drive with notable passes by Peizge Mailei to receiver Cooper Jones and timely runs by Joe Fonua that helped move the Rams into scoring territory. Highland was able to convert with 4:37 left on the clock with a short pass to receiver Siosefa Brown, making it a one-score game at 21-14.

Kicking the ball back to the Bees who still maintained the lead, the Rams defense needed a stop desperately in order to have a change to tie the game.

As time began to tick down, and the Bees began to move the ball, the Rams were finally able to hold them to a punt after a missed pass on third down.

The Rams, with only two minutes left, began to march down the field with a big pass to Brown that was originally deflected by the defender but somehow managed to land in Brown’s hands.

But on 4th down from the 25-yard line, Maile’s pass was intercepted, ending the hopes for a comeback and the Highland season.

“We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we played a little better football in the second half,” Olevao said.