Sunday, November 23, 2008
Rams roll to third consecutive title
Akron 37, Wray 8
By Neil H. Devlin
The Denver Post
Updated: 11/23/2008 12:13:48 AM MST
AKRON — What would it have taken to handle Akron's Rams, a silver bullet or a stake through their hearts?
"I don't know," chuckled Rams senior Dalton Jefferson, the most valuable player of Saturday's Class 1A championship game. "We're just a family."
And what a family it is. With yet another one-sided outcome, 37-8 over salty Wray, Akron rolled to its third consecutive title, 39th victory in a row and fifth championship during the reign of coach Brian Christensen.
Long known for their exceptional prowess executing the single-wing offense, which rolled to 386 yards on the ground, the Rams should also be recognized for their defense — they have 20 shutouts during the streak and allowed only 40 points in 2008, 93 over
In fact, Wray, which ended 12-1, had only two possessions in the second half.
"They're Akron and that's what they do," Wray coach Levi Kramer said.
At a crowded Akron field, the Rams (13-0) roared to a 17-0 first-quarter lead as Jefferson compiled 112 of his 272 yards rushing. Logan Davisson capped Akron's first drive on a 1-yard plunge before Jefferson ran it in from 64 yards on the Rams' second series.
Then Wray, which was game but inefficient, botched the kickoff that led to a Byron Guy 29-yard field goal.
The only point in which the Eagles could have made a move was early in the second quarter. Kelly Siegrest capped an 83-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run, and Wray converted a two-point pass to creep within 17-8 before the Eagles forced the Rams into their only punt of the day.
However, quarterback Brady Buck was picked off by the Rams' Alec Vasquez and the Eagles had another miscue, roughing the kicker on a 45-yard field-goal attempt.
The mistakes — Wray had four of them in an earlier 26-0 loss — were fatal, Kramer said, then Akron flexed its muscles in playing keep-away in the second half, when the Rams ran 36 plays to the Eagles' 14.
Throughout the contest, offensive linemen such as Bruce Hall, Brennen Hottinger, Kade Leavell, Kendall Monasmith and Benj Vigil controlled the line of scrimmage and created enough seams for Jefferson and Davisson to operate.
On defense, Logan Merrill joined a stone wall of a line as well as an active secondary, notably Branden Woods, in holding Wray at bay.
And this was an Akron defense that missed all-stater Joe McKay (broken leg) for half of the season.
"I'm just blessed," Christen- sen said.
Akron has just 120 students enrolled but played as if it had a well-trained army.
"The defense has been great," Christensen said. He played at Akron in the 1980s under Carl Rice, who is given credit for maintaining the single-wing. Rice now is the Akron principal and was defensive coordinator on Christensen's staff.
Dalton Jefferson capped his schoolboy career and Akron's three-year run in style. The senior ran 31 times for 272 yards and two touchdowns as Akron downed Wray 37-8 and won its third consecutive state title and 39th game in succession.
AKRON 37, WRAY 8
Wray 0 8 0 0 — 8
Akron 17 7 7 6 — 37
A — Davisson 1 run (Guy kick). A — Jefferson 64 run (Guy kick). A — FG Guy 29. W — Siegrist 1 run (Jones pass from Buck). A — Davisson 14 run (Guy kick). A — Jefferson 4 run (Guy kick). A — Davisson 35 run (kick failed).
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICSRushing — Wray, Buck 16-58, J. Beckman 13-52, Siegrist 3-5, Reinick 2-4. Akron, Jefferson 31-272, Davisson 20-93, Hottinger 1-8, Crumley 2-6, Merritt 1-6.
Passing — Wray, Buck 3-11-1-64. Akron, Friedly 2-8-0-16.
Receiving — Wray, Reinick 1-39, Fecht 1-13, Cure 1-12. Akron, B. Guy 1-11, Davisson 1-5.
TEAM STATS Wray Akron
First downs 10 20
Rushes-yards 34-117 54-386
Att.-comp.-int. 11-3-0 8-2-0
Passing yards 64 16
Punts-avg. 4-29.3 1-54
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 2-20 9-70
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