By Daily News correspondent James Gensterblum
There have been many memorable plays in the storied history of the North Adams-Jerome Rams football program.
But the game-changing play in the Rams’ 28-19 victory over SCAA foe Camden-Frontier on Friday night is certainly up there on the list.
Facing 3rd-and-18 on their own 34-yard line with 11 minutes to play and clinging to a narrow 20-19 lead, NA-J senior quarterback Dakota George took the snap, eluded the rush, and located junior wideout Dekota Borton open deep.
The Rams QB then uncorked a perfect spiral that hit Borton in stride, and the receiver out-ran the Redskin secondary for a 66-yard touchdown that energized NA-J’s homecoming crowd and put the Rams up two scores.
“It was a simple one-and-go route,” said George, who went 7-for-15 for 189 yards and two touchdowns. “I saw before the play that Dekota was being single-covered, so he was my first option. I made the defender bite on the pump fake and threw it, and from there Dekota’s speed just took over.”
N A-J head coach Bryan Cook said everything went as planned.
“We’d been setting it up the entire game with our short passes, waiting for them to bite on the play-action,” he said . “The kids executed it well and that’s what you want to see form them out there.”
Although the pass play was a major factor in the Rams’ win, the defense also came through for NA-J in the second half. After giving up 19 points to C-F’s potent offense in the first half, the Rams held them scoreless in the second and forced three turnovers.
“Our goal was to stop their rushing attack first, and then try to get pressure on (Redskins QB Kurtis) Tyler second,” Cook said. “We were solid against the run all game but I thought we got after Tyler better in the second half and made him force a few of his throws, which helped us a lot.”
Senior running back David Wick was another star for the Rams, running for 132 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, while fellow tailback Justin Carr added 51 yards and a touchdown as well.
The Redskins were led by Tyler, who went 17-for-35 passing for 216 yards and also had a two-yard touchdown run. But he also was responsible for all three of the Redskin turnovers with two fumbles and an interception.
Jake Jividen rushed for 46 yards on six carries and scored both of C-F’s other touchdowns, while Brady Nusbaum caught eight passes for 92 yards.
The Redskins’ defense forced five turnovers but was unable to keep the Rams’ offense from pulling away in the second half.
Because both the Redskins and the Rams were tied for first in the SCAA Division II at 3-0 heading into the game, the Rams earned their first share of an SCAA title in football since 2001 with the victory, and also kept their playoff hopes alive with three games remaining.
The Rams (4-2, 4-0 SCAA) can win the title outright by beating Tekonsha in week 8, but first the Rams must deal with SCAA power Climax-Scotts.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be where we are right now,” Borton said. “Last year was terrible in every way, but we took that embarrassment and used it as motivation over the summer. Now, we’re tackling, blocking and catching everything. We’re locked in and we’re ready to keep the momentum going.”