GRAHAM -- Mineral Wells opening drive Friday night showed glimmers of potential but too many mistakes against the No. 9 team in Class 4-A led to 56-0 drumming by the Graham Steers.
After the opening kickoff, the Rams (0-2) drove the length of the field getting inside the Graham 10-yard line before a holding call backed them up. It was only the beginning of a nightmare of miscues for the youth-laden charges of coach Gerald Perry.
“Graham is a very good team, and we did not play well at all,” Perry said. “That first drive we got out there and looked good and did some good things. We didn’t adjust well up front, and we couldn’t run the ball the rest of the way.”
Graham (2-0), on the other hand, ran the ball very well to the tune 439 yards on 45 carries. Steers quarterback Hunter Lanham was impressive as he completed 16-24-0 for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
The Steers brought heavy pressure up the middle and from both sides, but it was Mineral Wells own mistakes via a slew of penalties that hurt the most. Quarterback Braden Fryer was 7-14-1 passing, and the pass he had picked off was returned 39 yards for a score.
The Rams gave up the ball on downs on their first possession, and Graham never looked back driving down for the first of three first-quarter scores. Brandon Palacios crashed over the goal line from a yard out, and Corey Ballow took his interception to the house for a 13-0 lead. A sack of Fryer in the end zone by Landon Hebert pushed the Steers to 15-0 margin
Scoring runs of 22 and 57 yards by Daniel Gilbertson and an eight-yard run by Palacios made the score 36-0 at the half.
The Steers sandwiched a pair of Greg Simental 32-yard field goals around pair of Lanham touchdown passes of 18 yards to Damien Zemski and nine yards to Gaven Henderson.
The Rams generated just 40 rushing yards on 19 rushes and had 58 yards passing. Anthony Hernandez was Mineral Wells leading rusher with 38 yards on 13 carries. Ethan Marsh led the Rams receivers with three catches for 23 yards while Jayce Holland had two receptions for 27 yards.
Kick returner Cameron Tucker had four returns that netted 75 yards while Tristan Gray had two for 58 yards.
The Rams have one of their two bye-weeks next Friday and travel to Sanger Sept. 20.
“We are going to go back and break down film, and my coaches are going to report to me on what we did right and wrong,” Perry said. “Right now it feels like we didn’t do much right, but once we look at our film we will begin correcting the things we can. There will be some things we can’t correct.”
Those things are how young the Rams are right now.
“We grow up a little more with each practice and game,” Perry said. “We are going to be okay. It’s just going to take some time.”