Ben Franklin came up with the idea of why “experience” is the hardest teacher of all because it gives you the test before it gives you the lesson. the second half of the Rams’ game against Sanger was a prime example.

The young Rams were given a hard test and had not been given the lessons they needed prior to examination time. 

For football players the lesson is “if you have a 24-point lead” – don’t get overconfident and then play flat in the second half against a senior-laden team.

For that one fan on the Mineral Wells Index’s Facebook page who posted Friday night it was all about “play calling” – the lesson follows.

Like most Mineral Wells’ football fans I awoke Saturday morning still wondering how the Rams blew a 24-point lead against the Sanger Indians.

The first half of play was a thing of beauty for the Rams as quarterback Braden Fryer completed 10-11 passing for three touchdowns to three different receivers. Ethan Marsh got things rolling with a six-yard scoring reception, Landon Russell snaked through the secondary to make a 21-yard touchdown catch, and Brayden Hinojos was at the end of an eight-yard score. 

The exact order of the scoring being a senior passing to a junior, then to a sophomore and finally a freshman for those three touchdowns. 

The word “freshman” in a varsity game story indicates one of two things – you have a beast on your team capable of taking on a senior and beating him. It can also mean a the varsity team has a serious lack of upperclassmen.

There are seven freshmen on the Mineral Wells varsity roster and 11 sophomores on a team containing 48 total players. Do some math, and you will find 37.5-percent of the varsity roster should potentially still be playing junior varsity football.

If you take an eighth-grader and put him in 10th grade for Algebra II without him taking Algebra I what kind of grades would you expect him to make? 

Missing junior varsity football isn’t any different than skipping a grade in the classroom with the exception of 

you keep taking the tests without getting any lessons. A freshman moving up to the varsity is missing 10-20 JV games where those lessons are taught.  

There’s not a coach on earth who can take a freshman and give him one summer of instruction, two scrimmages, and two football games and make him “fully experienced” and ready to play a senior.

Sanger made adjustments on their defensive line and stunted their linebackers, forcing Mineral Wells “play calling”  into two-back protection. The Rams young blocking backs couldn’t keep defenders off the quarterback who was pressured into firing off three passes that were picked off. There were additional problems like high snaps and fumbles, so there were plenty of reasons things went south in a hurry for the Rams.

What happened was 17-year-old players were beating 15-year-old players because they had 1-2 years varsity experience (10-24 games) to the 15–year-old’s two total games. 

Things went just as poorly for the Rams on defense, but it wasn’t play calling it was merely a case of Sanger proved to be better at making adjustments and showing their maturity by not giving up. A point driven home by the fact the Indians didn’t let up when they took the lead and probably played harder than they had at any point of the game.

No amount of coaching can account for lack of experience not until lessons have been taught. Friday night against Sanger was a tough lesson for the Rams and one they can learn from – hopefully our Facebook “play caller” can do the same.

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