The Rogers Rams committed four turnovers and surrendered 27 second-quarter points to the Emerald Ridge Jaguars in a battle for South Hill bragging rights.
Such mistake-prone efforts usually doom a football team, but it didn’t affect Rogers.
The Rams (1-2 overall) persevered to grind out a 43-40 victory in the King of the Hill rivalry game in front of a packed house at Sparks Stadium on Friday night. It was Rogers’ sixth straight win against the Jaguars (0-3).
Emerald Ridge outscored Rogers 27-7 in the second quarter and won the turnover battle 4-0 but still didn’t come out on top.
Jaguars running back Ashanti Kindle, who rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns, bulldozed Rogers defenders throughout the evening.
“It hurts. It cuts deep,” Kindle said. “We have been training so hard for this game and have been working so hard for this game for so long. We ended up coming up short. Everything happens for a reason.”
Rogers owned the first quarter when LaGrant Pegram and Austin Hardin found the endzone to give their team a 15-0 lead.
But Kindle and fellow Jaguars running back Cody Anderson shredded the interior of the Rams’ run defense in the second quarter for two touchdowns apiece.
The Rams stopped the bleeding when wide receiver Kyler Ooley hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Grayson Madland with five seconds left in the half to cut the deficit to 27-22.
Pegram said the Rams were unfazed with their abysmal second quarter.
“When we came out of halftime, in our heads, we said the score was 0-0,” Pegram said. “We came out and played as hard as we could in the second half. We didn’t let those touchdowns in the second quarter get to us.”
Ooley said it was just a matter of executing.
“We really have been emphasizing ‘finish,’ ” he said. “We knew we had to finish, and we did that.”
Madland had two rushing touchdowns in the second half, and his 19-yard touchdown pass to Pegram with 3:09 left in the fourth quarter gave Rogers a 43-33 lead.
Rams head coach Gene Bowen was glad to see his squad get a win after losses to both Federal Way and Todd Beamer.
“It’s nice to get one,” Bowen said. “This is such a great group of guys who work so hard at everything they do. They do everything we ask of them and are so coachable. I was happy to see them have some success tonight.”
Ooley said the Rams are looking forward to this Friday’s contest against the Spanaway Lake Sentinels.
“I’m excited for the opportunity we have in front us in Spanaway Lake,” Ooley said. “It’s incredible coming off a win a like this. We’re looking forward to the game. It is going to be fun.”