Field position and a staunch Tri-Center Trojans defense were the story of Friday night’s home opener for the MVACOU Rams football team.

The Rams never started a drive beyond their own 35-yard line and failed to get into Trojans territory the whole night.

MVAOCOU received the ball to open the game, and on the first play from scrimmage at their own 23-yard line were penalized 5 yards for a false start to back them up to the 18. Four plays later quarterback Brady Seuntjens threw an interception to give Tri-Center first and 10 at the Rams 38-yard line. Trojans quarterback Bryson Freeberg then connected with receiver Trevor Carlson for a 38-yard touchdown pass. The extra point kick made it 7-0 in favor of the Trojans.

The Rams were forced to punt on their next possession, giving the Trojans first and 10 on their own 42. The Rams defense gave up minimal yardage for six plays before Freeberg connected with receiver Gavin Heim on a crossing route across midfield. Heim eluded the defense and ran the ball down the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown, which was followed by an extra point kick to make it 14-0 in favor of Tri-Center.

An interception on the next Rams possession after three plays gave the ball back to the Trojans at the Rams 43. Six plays later, the Trojans scored on a 5-yard run by Freeburg and was followed by an extra-point kick to make it 21-0 with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter.

The Rams put together a 20-yard drive on their next possession before a fumbled pass reception by MVAOCOU’s Drew Gothier was recovered by Tri-Center to give the Trojans first and 10 at the Rams 46-yard line. The Trojans drove it to the Rams 15-yard line before time expired in the period, then on the next play from scrimmage, the Trojans scored on a 15-yard quarterback scramble by Freeberg. The extra point kick made it 28-0.

The Rams gambled on their next possession after three incomplete passes set up, fourth and 10 at their own 24-yard line. A fake punt pass play fell incomplete, giving the Trojans the ball deep in Rams territory, but on second and 7 from the 21, the Trojans’ Carlson fumbled a pass that the Rams’ Logan Blume recovered at the Rams 9-yard line. Luck was not with the Rams, though, because on the next play, the Rams fumbled it back to the Trojans on an errant pitch from Seuntjens to Kolby Nutt was recovered by Tri-Center on the Rams 3-yard line.

Tri-Center’s Carlson punched it in on the next play and the extra point kick made it 35-0.

The Rams took over at their own 32 after the kickoff, but managed only 3 yards on the drive and were forced to punt. A good punt return by Tri-Center gave them first and 10 at the Rams 36, but MVAOCOU’s defense stiffened and forced Tri-Center to attempt a 23-yard field goal that sailed wide left.

The Rams could not take advantage of the stop, though. A high snap fumble on first and 10 at the 20 lost 9 yards, and two incomplete passes later, the Rams punted it back to Tri-Center, who returned it back to the Rams 31-yard line. On the next play Tri-Center’s Carlson ran it down the left sideline for his third touchdown of the night. The extra point made it 42-0 with 5:20 left in the second quarter.

The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds to give the Rams their best field possession of the game at their own 35, but a high snap two plays into the possession resulted in an 18-yard loss back to the 20. A 13-yard completion to Dawson Gress made it fourth and 11, forcing the Rams to punt once again, giving the Trojans first and 10 on their 42. On third and 2 at the 50, Freeberg faded to pass, but was forced to scramble and scampered down the left sideline for a 50-yard touchdown. The extra point kick was blocked by the Rams to keep it 48-0 with 1:58 left in the second quarter, which is how the half ended.

The second half operated under the continuous clock 35-point rule. The Rams started the half on their own 23 and drove to the 40-yard line that saw completions of 11 yards and 6 yards to Nutt before turning the ball over on downs.

The Rams defense stopped Tri-Center’s next drive on downs at the Rams’ 4-yard line, but MVAOCOU could not sustain a drive and was forced to punt it away again.

Tri-Center took over at their own 47, then drove it to the Rams 12 before relinquishing the ball on down at the 15 following a 3-yard loss of fourth and 7.

On the final drive of the game, the Rams’ Cayden Henderson had a 20-yard run before time expired four plays later with the Rams at their own 47-yard line.

For the game, Tri-Center outgained MVAOCOU 397-102.

Seuntjens was 8 of 25 passing for 77 yards and the ground game netted 25 total yards despite Henderson’s 54 yards on 11 carries. Gothier had three receptions for 31 yards and Nutt had three receptions for 25 yards.

Tri-Center’s Freeburg was 13-21 passing for 185 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 91 yards on 8 carries with two touchdowns, while Carlson rushed 18 times for 118 yards and three touchdowns.

Leading the Rams defensively were Kolby Scott with 7.5 tackles, Logan Blume with 5.5 tackles, and Kolby Nutt with 4 tackles.

The Rams are at home Friday night for their Homecoming game against West Monona. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Bill Mac Field in Mapleton.

1 2 3 4 F

T-C 21 27 0 0 48

MVAOCOU 0 0 0 0 0

Rams: 1-1/0-0 District 9

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