By CLINT FOSTER
It’s true. The Mineral Wells Rams lost another tough game Friday night to bring their streak to four with no wins on the young season. This time it was at the hands of the Iowa Park Hawks (3-1) who asserted themselves in a 52-13 win in front of a large home crowd at Rams Stadium on Homecoming night.
It is also true that for every cloud, there is a silver lining if we choose to see it.
There were actually multiple positive to glean from the Rams most recent loss: great success in the return game, no turnovers in the redzone and a Rams offensive and defensive line that largely held its own in the trenches against players that were considerably taller and heavier than they were to name a few.
But perhaps the biggest takeaway from this year’s homecoming game was a Mineral Wells offense that is continuing to find its stride despite missing multiple key starters.
“Offensively, it was just a buildup of what we did last week,” head coach Chuck Lawrence said. “This week, we had three weeks to get this thing going in the proper direction before Castleberry and now we’ve got two more weeks to get better.”
The Rams matched their season-high in points and had to earn each of their 181 yards of total offense – the second-most this year – against a very physical Hawks defense.
Starting cornerback turned running back DeShaun Hicks and Tristan Seargeant continued to be the feature playmakers in a backfield missing its three starting backs in Josh Hardee, Devon Edmond and Kolby Parks. The two made for an effective thunder and lightning tandem, with Seargeant getting the hard yards inside while Hicks stretched the defense outside with his speed.
“DeShawn’s another week better and he’s going to get another week better the next week,” Lawrence said.
Seargeant became the third different running back – and third offensive player – to score a touchdown for the Rams when he rumbled up the middle for a 19-yard score in the second half. In all Hicks posted 63 yards on 13 carries, with Seargeant adding 43 yards on seven carries and last week’s hero, Kelly Williams piling on another eight yards on four carries.
Quarterback Caleb Acosta also continued to show improvement, finding his receivers in open space en route to 63 yards passing. It may not sound like on of his best performances on paper, but Acosta’s biggest number was one: that’s how many interceptions he threw against the Hawks after throwing two in each of the previous three games. He’s making better decisions in the pocket and more consistently accurate throws.
Placekicker Patrick Folkner also got in on the offensive action for the first time this year. He showed his value, going two-for-two on field goals. He hit one from 30-yards and knocked in the second off the right upright from 35-yards out.
Regardless of their record, Lawrence’s primary focus is that his team continues to improve before they open district play against Castleberry in two weeks.
“(This game) was just an extension of last week,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to mesh, continue to gel. Hopefully we’ll be good enough when we line up to play Castleberry.”
The Rams will have one more tune-up game before they begin their district slate against the Lions of Fort Worth Castleberry. Next Friday, Mineral Wells will travel north to face the Burkburnett Bulldogs (1-3) at 7 p.m. in Bulldog Stadium. It’s the Rams’ last chance to work out the kinks and get some momentum before the most important part of their season begins.
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