Everything was rolling Mineral Wells way as it clung to a 14-13 lead over Carrolton Ranchview until a high snap was fumbled and recovered by the Wolves for a touchdown and a 21-14 loss for the Rams.
The Rams had figured out a potent offense that rattled off 7-11 passing in the first half and snuffed it out like a candle forcing 10 straight incompletions.
Down 13-7 at the half, the Rams immediately seized the momentum by taking the second-half kickoff and driving 56 yards in five plays.
Quarterback Braden Fryer capped the drive with a two-yard run, and Martin Renteria’s extra-point kick gave the Rams a slim 14-13 advantage.
Inexperience and youth hurt Mineral Wells several times on offense. In the first half a decision to run rather than punt the football gave the Wolves a short field, and they capitalized with a touchdown.
“It wasn’t a designed play,” coach Gerald Perry said. “We aren’t going to have a punter run when it’s fourth and 20 yards. Renteria has never been a punter before, and with his rugby-style and the rush behind him, he just kind of took off. He had some great punts for us tonight.”
The Wolves provided a massive pass rush throughout the contest, and quarterback Braden Fryer had problems finding a rhythm as he was forced to scramble or hurry his throws. Fryer’s best toss of the evening went to Jayce Holland for a 30-yard gain, and the senior was the Rams leading rusher with 76 yards on 19 carries.
Ranchview drew first blood midway through the first quarter with a three-yard run by Kennedy Wood. The Rams responded with Fryer finding Tristan Gray on a two-yard touchdown pass where the sophomore receiver used his speed to separate himself from the defender deep in the end zone.
While the Rams did have some highlights the Wolves’ defense rattled the Rams’ offensive line and forced two-protection for Fryer.
“Our offensive line has got to play better. Our fullbacks did not play well and missed blocking assignments,” Perry said. “We were rolling out maximum protection, and we’re not getting the job done out there.”
Perry did give the nod to his defense that didn’t allow a score after halftime and only one reception after the half.
“There were a couple of plays where they got loose on us, but for the most part our defense played well,” Perry said.
Despite being harassed out of the pocket most of the game Fryer was 6-9 passing for 66 yards and touchdown. Running back Anthony Hernandez netted 56 yards on the ground, and the Rams top receiver was Jayce Holland with two catches for 49-yards.