Aw shucks: Rams stun Olathe
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Clay Gross rolled out to the right, saw an opening and took off for the end zone. A few yards and a dive later, Gross and his Roaring Fork football teammates were celebrating a stunning victory over the defending Class 2A state champions.
Gross’ gutsy two-point conversion run on the Rams’ second overtime possession delivered host Roaring Fork a 23-22 win over Olathe on Friday.
Though the play didn’t go as scripted, the senior quarterback made it work.
“I was supposed to throw to Trae [Moxley], but he slipped,” Gross said. “I saw nobody out there, so I said, ‘Here I go. I’m gonna dive.'”
The conversion tailed a 9-yard touchdown pass from Gross to receiver Trent Reeds to pull the Rams to within 22-21.
Rather than play it safe, Roaring Fork’s coaching staff opted to gamble and bring the night to an end – for better or worse.
“We were just going to take our chances,” Gross said. “We trusted our line the whole game. We believed we were the more physical team in this game, so let’s power at ’em. Let’s go for it. It came straight from the coaches, but we were all for it.”
Moments earlier, Olathe quarterback Ben Kaylor rumbled in for a score from 11 yards out to give the Pirates the lead in the college-style overtime, in which the teams traded possessions starting at the opponent’s 10-yard line.
Neither team mustered any points on their first set of overtime downs. Roaring Fork turned the ball over on downs and Olathe saw its series end with a fumble.
And that was fitting, given that defense ruled the chilly night in Carbondale.
The teams squeezed in a few scores, though.
A big play put the first points on the board with 9 minutes, 17 seconds left in the second quarter, when Gross found Reeds up the right sideline for a 31-yard TD pass.
The resulting 7-0 count held until early in the third quarter, when Kaylor connected with Cole Grett on a 30-yard scoring pass for the Pirates. Willy Corey ran in the two-point conversion to put Olathe ahead, 8-7, at the 8:51 mark in the third.
With 2:13 left in the frame, the Rams responded. This time, Teddy Benge leaped over the line for a 2-yard TD run. Gross hit Moxley, Roaring Fork’s skyscraper of a tight end, with a two-point conversion pass to make it 15-8.
But the Pirates countered midway through the fourth with a 1-yard scoring pass from Kaylor to Grett to tie it up.
Gross finished up the night with 134 yards and two TDs on 7-of-20 passing. Reeds had three catches for 77 yards.
“He’s my man when I’m throwing. I’m not gonna lie to you,” Gross said of Reeds, a fellow senior. “He’s so athletic.”
The Rams, who improved to 2-4 overall and to 2-1 in the 2A Western Slope League, couldn’t get much going on the ground, rushing for just 66 yards.
Corey led the Pirates, now 3-3 overall and to 2-1 in league play, with 91 yards on 17 carries. Kaylor finished with 101 yards on 5-of-13 passing.
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