Rams advance after beating Savages
CARBONDALE – Good study habits paid off for Kade Gianinetti on Saturday. The Roaring Fork junior mentioned it when asked what led to the key breakup of Lamar quarterback Travis Whitham’s fourth-down pass to receiver Matt Lira that preserved the Rams’ 21-12 Class 2A state playoff win with five minutes, 11 seconds left.”We studied a lot of film on Lamar this week, and we knew (Whitham) likes to go deep. So I just started retreating, and luckily I got there in time.”Gianinetti’s well-timed leap at the Rams 5-yard line on Whitham’s pass stopped a promising scoring drive by the Savages, and helped Roaring Fork advance to the next round of the 2A playoffs.”Kade batting down that ball sort of cemented this for us,” said Roaring Fork head coach Matt Hauptly.
“(Lamar) had located some areas they thought they could attack, and we adjusted to it. Kade getting across to that ball wasn’t only a big play of itself, but it showed that we had adjusted to what they had been doing.”Roaring Fork’s ability to adjust in rough situations was the difference, Hauptly said.Lamar, who fashioned an 8-1 record in the regular season, pulled with an extra point conversion play of Roaring Fork twice.Christian Tena gave the Rams a hyper-quick 7-0 lead on his 63-yard touchdown run on the game’s second play from scrimmage, followed by Jake Kinney’s successful extra point.Two minutes later Lamar returned the favor when running back Blake Mundell scooted 64 yards for a score. The Rams held on to the lead when Lamar kicker Jacob Herrera’s PAT try sailed wide left.Missed extra points after touchdowns by Lamar increased in importance as the game progressed.
Kinney booted home the second of three kicks after Jake Bowman’s 80-yard punt return in the second period. Whitman failed to knot the score at 14-all when his two-point pass sailed over its intended target with 7:59 to go in the third.It was as close as the Savages could get.”Having Jake Kinney as a kicker makes an enormous difference to our team,” said Hauptly. “If we miss any of those extra points, we’re not ahead. Instead, it’s a tie game, and that (type) of game is played entirely different.”Kinney gave the Rams the comfort they needed when he knocked home his third straight extra point after he scored from eight yards out early in the fourth quarter.Lamar guessed wrong on the play, keying in on Bowman instead of Kinney, who had seen limited playing time in the backfield to that point.
The Rams sophomore made the Savages pay for their mistake.”The defense was so focused in on Bowman, they all flowed with him,” said Hauptly. “Jake just cut back against flow. He’s a big, strong kid and tough to bring down. When he got to the 3-yard line, he just bulled in the rest of the way.” Roaring Fork has another strong playoff foe this week in No. 1-seeded Faith Christian, who advanced to the quarterfinal showdown with the Rams on a 59-8 mauling of Burlington.By winning an earlier coin flip, Roaring Fork will host its second playoff game in as many weeks. The date and time of the contest will be announced later this week.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.