Rams roll past Longhorns, 48-8

Staff Report

BASALT – It took just two carries for Roaring Fork’s James Leonard to accumulate 80 yards and two touchdowns.

Those numbers won’t hurt the average a bit. Leonard slowed down – a little – to finish Friday’s Class 2A Western Slope football game with 151 yards on six carries, but the Rams didn’t slow down at all against rival Basalt.

Roaring Fork had a 42-point lead by halftime and went on to defeat the Longhorns 48-8 to remain undefeated on the season.

“Mostly we executed really well,” Roaring Fork coach Tory Jensen said. “(The game) was a lot about `What can we do?’ We’ve been pretty conservative the last couple games and it was nice to do some things that weren’t so conservative.”

The Longhorns (0-3 in the Western Slope, 1-5 overall) were overmatched against the No. 3-ranked Rams (3-0, 5-0).

On the opening offensive play of the game, Roaring Fork quarterback Dan Markoya hit Max Green with a pass for 22 yards. The next play Leonard broke free for a 40-yard touchdown run.

After a three-and-out by Basalt, the next Rams drive lasted six plays, again ending with a 40-yard Leonard touchdown run.

While Leonard is accustomed to trotting into the end zone, the Rams were also able get some new faces across the goal line.

Tommy Joiner made a nice reaching grab for an 11-yard touchdown pass from Markoya with 4 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first quarter to put the Rams up 21-0.

Less than 2 minutes later senior Ryan Donnelly broke off a 36-yard touchdown run to give Roaring Fork a 28-0 advantage.

The touchdowns were the first of their high school careers for both Joiner and Donnelly.

“It was nice to see Ryan, the workhorse, get one,” Jensen said. “He does a lot of the dirty work for us, both on offense and defense.

“(Joiner) might be the hardest working kid on the team, which says a lot,” Jensen added. “We have some hard working kids.”

Markoya and Taylor Maggert added touchdowns in the second quarter to give the Rams a 42-0 cushion at halftime and allow Jensen to sit his starters for the second half.

While the Roaring Fork defense stifled the Longhorns in the first half – allowing just three first downs – the Longhorns did have some highlights on defense.

Cody Burkholder had an interception in the end zone, Caleb Nye also picked off Markoya and the Zach Southward recovered two fumbles in the game.

The Rams went up 48-0 in the third quarter before Javier Morales got the Longhorns on the board with a safety in the fourth quarter.

Senior Adam Gawrys finished off the scoring with a touchdown reception.

Basalt travels to Eagle Valley (3-0 WSC, 4-1 overall) for a game Friday at 7 p.m. Roaring Fork’s homecoming opponent is Gunnison (3-0, 4-1) at the same time.

The Rams football team will hold a barbecue at 3:30 p.m. Friday for any former Roaring Fork players so the current players can meet the previous generations of Rams football.

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