By CLINT FOSTER
Mineral Wells (0-3) may have lost on Friday night, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the Rams players and staff after the game.
The Rams were flying higher and feeling more confident than they had all season after scoring their first two offensive touchdowns of the year.
The Glen Rose Tigers (1-2) rode a fast start to a 35-13 win, but keyed by a strong defensive performance, the Rams surged late on the back of a surprisingly dominant running game and earned the epitome of a moral victory.
The Rams limped into their game against the Tigers with six starters out with injuries, including Mineral Wells’ two starting running backs: Josh Hardee and Devon Edmond. But the Rams coaching staff plugged a few key players into that backfield spot and came away with their most impressive offensive performance so far.
“People don’t understand how wounded we are,” head coach Chuck Lawrence said. “My offensive staff worked all week on the game plan and they came up with a great one. We got the ball, we punched it down there a couple of times in the first half and just couldn’t get it in. We finally got it in twice. I’m so proud of my offense and my offensive staff for they hard work they put in. It showed tonight.”
Senior wide receiver and starting cornerback DeShawn Hicks, wide receiver and defensive back Kelly Williams and sophomore Tristan Seargeant led the Rams resurgent rushing attack. Hicks and Williams ran hard to combine for 143 yards on the ground, and Seargeant added another 77 rushing yards including 51 in the second half.
Williams was the hero, scoring the first touchdown of the Rams’ young season on a 3-yard run in the third quarter. Hicks added the other touchdown in the fourth quarter as Mineral Wells attempted to mount a comeback.
Lawrence said Rams fans have not seen the last of Hicks and Williams in the backfield.
“Obviously we will (continue to play Hicks and Williams) because Edmond’s out indefinitely, at least five more weeks,” Lawrence said. “We’re still not sure how long Hardee’s going to be out. (Kolby) Parks is still injured, too. So, we’re down to four, five and six. Just to be able to survive at four, five and six is remarkable.
“The work that my offensive line did and the blocking the receivers did, just a tremendous effort by our offense tonight.”
Lawrence pointed out that the Rams won the second half against Glen Rose, 13-7. He said if you take away some early mistakes that led to the Tigers’ first two touchdowns, the score would have been 21-13 and a completely different ball game.
Regardless, the Rams’ tenacity and skill on Friday night was impressive, especially considering their roster of the walking wounded.
Lawrence is confident that health is the only thing his team is lacking.
“Once we get healthy, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” he said.
The Rams did many things Friday night that they had not done in their previous two games. Chiefly, the Rams were playing to win and it showed.
Not a single player on that Mineral Wells squad quit until the final whistle blew and that is not only something to be proud of, but also an attitude and source of momentum the Rams can ride into their next game and the rest of the season.
The Rams will look to build on their performance and continue to chase their first win when they take on the Iowa Park Hawks at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Rams Stadium.