By Bill Bostic
Gazette sports columnist
Believe or not, sideline reporting at Central Dauphin Rams games is worthy of a hazardous pay rate.
CD Ram Shamarr Joppy gets a hand on a Berks Catholic’s punt in the first period of CD’s 7-0 win.
I nearly got mowed down by a herd of stampeding Rams defenders Friday night in Reading after they blocked a field goal attempt by the Berkshire Catholic Saints.
Next they huddled near the bench to hold a celebration that was capped off by the banging of a newly purchased Chinese gong.
The gong got plenty of use in a shutout win over a team that finished second in the PIAA 4A classification last season and reportedly has a better team this year.
By the way, the Rams have only given up seven points in the first two games, but the first team has not allowed a point.
Let me tell you, Friday night’s 7-0 Rams win is one that will stick with me for a long time – maybe until my dying day.
Tyler Leisher, #25 in white, runs for 35-yards during the Rams’ winning drive.
For starters, the Rams were the underdog in this one because the Saints had the upper hand in most skill positions, including a big dude playing running back and middle linebacker who is headed to the Pitt Panthers. (His name is Brandon George for those of you keeping score at home.)
Plus, the Saints seemed to be bigger than the Rams, and believe me size matters in football.
I reported after the game that the Rams gutted out this win by dominating the line of scrimmage, but it was more than that – they won the psychological battle that is waged in all sporting events.
Coach Glen MacNamee had the Rams mentally and physically ready to take on Berks Catholic.
Give credit to the coaching staff and team leaders for mentally being at the zenith of their game for the entire 48-minute contest. Anything less could have easily resulted in a loss.
Keep in mind the Rams entered this one without starting quarterback and linebacker Noah Hoffman due to an ankle injury suffered in the first game against Wilson.
Plus, a significant number of players got nicked up against Berks Catholic, forcing second and a few third stringers into action.
For whatever reason, all the pieces came together for the Rams on the brand new artificial turf at Forino Sports Complex in a win that will cause their Mid Penn Commonwealth foes to take notice.
I went to sleep Friday night – actually early Saturday morning – with the sound of a gong going off in my brain. I bet some Berks Catholic coaches and players did the same thing.
- CD’s defense for pitching a shutout that included a partially blocked punt and a blocked field goal in the first period.
- Adam Burkhart, #46, for scoring the game’s only touchdown on a one-yard plunge in the third period, and then keeping Berks Catholic off the field late in the game with a series of runs.
- Fill-in quarterbacks junior Tyrese Fuller, #1, and freshman Max Mosey, #16, for playing steady and not turning over the ball.
- Senior kicker Derek Krug for nailing a point-after-touchdown after the Rams got hit with a 15-yard penalty following Burkhart’s touchdown.
- And the coaching staff for a stellar job getting the team ready to play.
NEXT UP for the Rams (2-0) is the start of the so-called “Revenge Tour” against teams that slapped losses on CD last year. First up is a non-conference game against the defending District 3 6A champs Manheim Township Blue Streaks (2-0), who doled out losses to the Rams in 2017 in week #2 of the season and in a first-round playoff game. The game will be played at Landis Stadium in Colonial Park this Friday, Sept. 7, at 7 pm.
The Blue Streaks downed Central Dauphin East 17-10 at Landis Field during week #1 this season.
Photos by Neil Renaldi
Photo at the top of this article shows Adam Burkhart scoring the winning touchdown Friday against Berks Catholic.