First Down Means First Win for Rams

Nick Starling (left) got the first down that sealed it for the Rams. Quarterback Anthony Valencia is on the right.

(Glendale) – Nick Starling picked up a first down on a  fourth and two run with two minutes left to seal a 15 -14 Temple City win over Hoover Thursday night at Moyse Field. Starling rushed for another first down 90 seconds later and the Rams ran out the clock to get their first win of the year.

Temple City was faced with the fourth down at the Hoover 48 with just over two minutes left in the contest up by one. A punt could bury Hoover deep in it’s own end. On the other hand if the Rams are stopped Hoover is in good field position only needing a field goal to win it.

“It really wasn’t a gutsy call. You look your kids in the eye and say hey if we get two here we can walk off and get on the bus,” said Temple City Coach Mike McFarland.”I’ll be honest there have been a lot of other calls that I’ve had that were tougher. In that situation, It was about, hey you want to win here it is.”

Win they did as Starling pounded his way to the first down and the Temple City ran out the clock.

It was all about the ground game all night for the Rams. They only threw the ball one time and that play resulted in an offensive pass interference call on TC. Starling carried the ball 24 times for 88 yards and Chris Reed pounded the rock 17 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. Nick Kaneko had 12 carries for 84 yards and Diego Arreola had five carries including a seven yard scoring run.

Temple City marched all the way down to the Hoover 24 yard line on its first possession, but after 16 plays a fumble put an end to the drive. On the next series a punt return set up the Rams at the Hoover 45. Eight plays later, Reed scored Temple City’s first touchdown of the year on a one yard blast early in the second quarter. After a bad snap, Dareece Spratt caught a pass and rumbled into the end zone for a two point conversion.

Hoover responded on the next series. The Tornadoes went 57 yards in five plays capped by a 24 yard scoring pass from Brendon Kerr to Zach Hanson. The extra point sailed wide.

Another Ram fumble set up a go ahead score for Hoover. From the Temple City 33, Hoover needed just four plays to score. Hanson went in on a six yard run for a 12-8 lead.

Temple City drove down to the Hoover one yard line just before the half but Reed was stonewalled at the goal line and the first half clock ran out.

“I knew we would get more shots,” McFarland said.

They did on the first series of the second half when the Rams pieced a together an eight play, 67 yard drive. Arreola went up the gut for a seven yard run to finish it. Arreola was a call up from the JV squad.

“We had him early but we could tell right away he was a stud. So we moved him up to varsity,” said JV Coach Riley Saxon.

A bad snap out of the end zone by Temple City resulted in a Hoover safety in the fourth quarter but the Ram defense held on the rest of the way.

Starling’s final first down touched off a celebration on the Ram sideline. It was a big win for the green and gold after being shut out in its first three games this year and going 1-9 last year.

“It’s unbelievable. The last two years have been a struggle. They’re (Hoover) 2-0 and beat a good South Pas team,” McFarland said. “It isn’t about anything other than this. It’s about 30 kids who have been through a lot of losing and have never ever quit or allowed themselves to stop getting better. It’s a credit to the heart of our players and our coaches.”

Jesse Pina led the Hoover rushing attack with 64 yards on 10 carries.

Hoover lost its first of the year and falls to 2-1. The Rams hope to bring a little momentum into next week’s crosstown battle with Rosemead.

TC  0  8  7  0    15

H  0  12  0  2   14

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