Deer Park Junior Rams clinch TIFI playoff berth with 20-0 victory
When the Deer Park Junior Rams coughed up the football, ending their first possession of the second half and then couldn’t take advantage of a new possession in the red zone, the “uh-ohs” were breaking out.
With just an 8-0 advantage on a struggling Barbers Hill Eagles team, the Rams were letting Barbers Hill linger around way too long.
But those uh-ohs turned into an oh-so-sweet moment in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter.
In back-to-back plays, Dylan West intercepted a pass and then scored a touchdown from 13 yards out, helping the team clinch a TIFI playoff berth with a 20-0 victory at Clyde Abshier Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Coach Victor West’s club upped their season record to 6-2 with the win, guaranteeing that they’ll finish no worse than eighth place, the last postseason ticket TIFI hands out. The ninth through 14th-place teams all have five defeats or more.
The guys, who will be the only Rams team in the TIFI playoffs, likely remained in a tie for the fourth-best Juniors record with only two contests remaining.
With the game scoreless until the final play of the first half when Angel Gonzalez scored from 14 yards out, the defense made sure the offense didn’t have to play catch-up once it woke up.
Setting up Dylan West’s interception was the trio of Trae Willis, Gonzalez and Ethan Babineaux sacking the Barbers Hill quarterback for a six-yard loss.
Then came a desperate fourth-down pass play that led to the interception.
The Rams then chewed up a big part of the fourth with a nine-play drive that culminated with West scoring his second TD, a short three-yard burst.
Caiden Wells is sneaky good at the quarterback’s position and he was again in bringing home the playoff berth.
At 10 years old, he’s almost the youngest player on the team, but he brings lots of poise to the position. On the rare moments when he’s asked to run with the ball, he’ll get the Rams anywhere from four to eight yards.
And he’s a confident little guy when he needs to throw the ball. That fourth-quarter drive and West’s second score was due primarily to Wells lofting a pretty 25-yard pass completion to Flores on a fourth and 15 situation.
The Rams close out the regular season with two teams that could be joining them in the playoffs. They’ll host the Baytown Broncos at 12:30 this Saturday in what could be a meeting of two 6-2 clubs.
Then the regular season closes with the Bay Area Sharks at home. The Sharks, who were 3-4 entering this past weekend’s action, are on the bubble so that could be a do-or-die game for the Sharks.