After a positive start to season, Rams bow out 65-0
ROCKLIN – Sometimes it pays to stay in bed.
Unfortunately for the Gavilan Rams, their Roseville hotel had an 11 a.m. check-out requirement on Saturday. Faced with that rule, the Rams left their temporary quarters, moved on to Rocklin and absorbed a 65-0 loss to the unbeaten Sierra College Wolverines.
Wolverines, apparently, do have long memories.
Sierra avenged a 62-15 post-season loss in 1973 to the Gavilan Rams by turning a 562-yard total offense into the biggest loss in the 41-year history of the Ram gridiron program.
Gavilan, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 11-0 National Championship, stumbled to a 48-0 deficit by halftime on the hot afternoon.
Sierra’s effort erased the Rams’ record for points allowed in one game, a 60-0 setback to the Laney College Eagles at Frank Youell Field in Oakland in the final game of the 1966 season.
Gavilan posted a 68-0 win over the Cal JV’s in 1974, the highest score in the history of the program. The Rams opened post-season play in 1973 with a 62-15 romp over Sierra at Hollister’s Andy Hardin Field before completing the perfect campaign with a 16-0 blanking of Mira Costa.
The Rams (1-2) seek to return to .500 when they host another Bay Valley team, the Mendocino Eagles, at 2:30 p.m. at Mustang Stadium.
After an impressive opening victory over Merced, Gavilan has dropped two straight games since the removal of former defensive line coach Fred McGrew – who was posing as ex-New England Patriot Lawrence McGrew before being fired and subsequently arrested for impersonation.
The Rams might have seen this one coming after having Sierra muscle to a 40-3 halftime lead on the way to a 50-10 win in last year’s visit to Gilroy to face Gavilan.
Gavilan walked off the field on Saturday with two rushing first downs, a Brian Hernandez interception and 24 yards of total offense for the afternoon’s work.
Sierra, emphasizing its position among the top 20 among state community college programs, took a 21-0 lead into the second quarter, then liked that scenario so much that another 27 points were fit into the next 15 minutes of play.
The Rams were limited to 17 yards passing, all by starter Patrick Ames. The freshman was 3-for-6, all completions to Ted Mason, before turning the assignment over to first Nick Buzzetta and then Brandon Zertuche.
Gavilan had 22 yards positive yardage from the team’s leading runner, El Ray Henry. Buzzetta scurried to 21 yards in three attempts, while Jarvis Woods (12 yards) and Anthony Self (10) provided forward progress.
Sierra received 139 yards on 14 carries from running back Kevin Haley, including a 23-run paydirt jaunt just 1:24 into the game.
J. P. Greco connected on four touchdown passes on the way to 216 yards and a 14-24 afternoon for Sierra.
Greco, with 11 TD passes and three TD runs through a 3-0 start to the season, flipped a four-yard TD pass to Jason Barnes with 8:30 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 bulge. Haley covered 23 yards for another TD with 41 seconds left in the quarter.
When Greco threw an eight-yard TD pass to Nick Layton 1:06 into the second quarter, the Ram fortunes briefly changed when place-kicker Chris Thrall missed the point-after. Gavilan’s futility returned seconds later when a fumble deep in Ram territory was followed by a 17-yard Greco-to-Barnes connection for a 34-0 cushion with 13:02 left in the half.
Greco found Joey Hewlen open for a 40-yard second with 10:54 left, then completed the half’s action with a two-yard sneak.
Haley scored from two yards out five minutes into the second half, the final offensive touchdown of the day for Sierra. Thrall booted a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter, while Matt Yoklich returned a Ram punt 50 yards for the final touchdown.
Sierra finished with 342 rushing yards. Both teams lost two fumbles.
“You have to tip your hat to Sierra,” said Gavilan coach John Lango. “They’re a really good team and we didn’t play well. But that’s no excuse for our play. We tackled pathetically and we could not get one thing going on offense.”
Lango praised the consistent punting of Brandon Zertuche and the defensive line play from Roy Sims and Josh Visperas.