Lakers surge past Rams in OT thriller

MINERAL RIDGE — When two male rams battle for dominance, they hurl themselves at one another. A resounding thump can be be heard echoing throughout the wild until one competitor gives up and walks away.

It took overtime to decide an epic clash Friday night in Mineral Ridge. Neither rival had any intention of giving up in this encounter. In the end, the Lakers of Pymatuning Valley stood victorious over Mineral Ridge Rams, 36-34.

PV got the ball first in overtime. The Lakers senior quarterback Logan Drnek hit freshman receiver Garrett Smith with a 14-yard touchdown pass, and then Jacob Chiles on a two-point conversion to make it 36-28.

Mineral Ridge junior quarterback Dakota Edwards had one more bit of magic left in him, tossing a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it 36-34. The Rams were forced to go for two to try to tie the game. They ran the ball and came up just short in a classic to start the 2018 season.

Ridge got the ball to start the game. The Rams held the ball almost the entire first quarter besides a quick three and out by the Lakers. With 1:34 left in the first, Edwards hit senior running back Nathan Chiclowe for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Freshman kicker Gil Blair made the extra point to make it 7-0 Rams.

On third and 10 with 8:59 left in the second quarter, Drnek threw the first of his five touchdown passes to sophomore Tyler Bean. Bean was wide open on the left side of the field and sprinted 26 yards into the endzone. PV failed on a two-point attempt and the score was 7-6 Rams.

Drnek was unstoppable, tossing TD passes of 26, 42, 37, 21 and 14 yards, respectively.

After a short kickoff, the Rams had good starting position at midfield. During the drive, Ridge sophomore receiver Joe Rozzi had a nice 20-yard catch and run. Edwards finished off the drive with a 2-yard quarterback sneak up the middle. Blair’s extra point made it 14-6 Rams with 4:51 left in the second.

On the Lakers next possession, Drnek answered back. As he stepped into his pass he was nailed by two defenders. At 225 pounds, Drnek also plays defensive end. He absorbed the impact, and got the ball out to Smith for a 42-yard touchdown with 2:11 left in the second. Drnek found senior receiver Bryce Farmer for the two-point conversion to tie the score up at 14.

The Rams got the ball back. On third-and-17 Edwards found Rozzi to pick up a first down. The Rams drove to the Lakers 9-yard line with 30 seconds left until halftime. On third and 9 the Rams ran the ball and came up short at the 5-yard line. Out of time-outs, the Rams tried to rush the field goal unit onto the field, but ran out of time. The score was knotted up at 14 at the half.

The Lakers got the ball first to start the second half, and didn’t waste any time. Drnek threw a 37 yarder to Farmer. Pass interference was called, but declined. Drnek hit senior Noah Campbell for two to make it 22-14 Lakers.

The Rams went four and out on their next possession, and it was time for Drnek to go to work again. After a big 21-yard run by senior Jacob Chiles, Drnek tossed a 21-yard TD pass to Farmer. The Lakers failed on the two-point attempt and the score was 28-14.

It was now up to the Rams to try to get back in it, and defend their home turf. With 3:16 left in the third quarter, Ridge senior Jacob Lesko rammed his way in from 1 yard out. The kick after was good to make it 28-21 Lakers.

The Lakers were forced to punt the next time they got the ball. Drnek picked up a third and 10 on another amazing play. Shrugging off multiple defenders, he found the open man. The drive stalled, and Farmer hit a tremendous punt down to the 1-yard line.

Ridge picked up a couple first downs, but was forced to punt. A good kick by Chiclowe switched field position, and the Lakers got the ball inside their own 20.

Too many men on the field, and a delay of game penalty moved the ball back to the 7-yard line. The Lakers eventually punted.

The Rams were looking to tie the game the next time they got the ball. After Edwards picked up a third and 7 with a 15-yard run, the Rams misplayed the snap and fumbled the ball to the Lakers with 3:21 remaining in regulation.

Mineral Ridge’s defense stepped up and forced PV to punt the ball back again. The Rams sophomore defensive back Randall Miller’s name was constantly being called for making tackles.

The Rams had one more chance to tie it up. With 8 seconds left, on fourth and 8, from PV’s 20-yard line, Edwards worked some major magic and found a wide open Miller in the back of the endzone for the score. The kick after made it 28-all.