Ram comeback comes up short

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    A two-point conversion that would have tied the game with 4:36 and a fourth-down pass with 1:55 remaining both came up short for Glenwood on Friday as Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson escaped Glenwood with a 28-26 non-district victory at Ram Memorial Field.

    “I was proud of the effort,” Glenwood coach Corey Faust said of his 1-1 Rams. “There’s a lot of things we can do better. Me as a coach and we have to look in the mirror and be more committed. We have to make a decision. We can feel sorry for ourselves or we can be committed to getting better.”
    All night the Rams battled back against the Class 4A Yellowjackets.
    T.J. put Glenwood in a hole to start the game when Jakahi Gregory returned the opening kick-off 85 yards for a 7-0 lead just 13 seconds into the game.
    Glenwood came back on its very next possession to tie the score at 7-7 on a 69-yard scoring drive. The nine-play drive featured just one pass, a scoring strike from Corey Bertini to senior Sam Jameson who got behind the Yellowjacket defense and raced 41 yards to the end zone.
    Following a T.J. punt, the Rams appeared to be driving when Dominic Wilson, T.J.’s versatile quarterback and defensive back stepped in front of a Bertini pass for an interception. The Yellowjackets took over at their own 35. Two plays later Wilson connected with Gregory for a 65-yard catch-and-run to go up 14-7 with 9:10 left in the second quarter.
    Glenwood would, once again, respond quickly. Two plays after the Yellowjackets score their second touchdown, Bertini’s 31 yard scamper right up the middle put the Rams in position to tie the game less than a minute later. But the Rams’ extra-point kick would miss leaving Glenwood trailing 14-13 with 8:16 to go in the half.
    After the Rams forced another T.J. punt on their ensuing possession, Glenwood moved into position to take the lead, marching down to the Yellow jacket nine-yard yard line. But the Rams’ field goal attempt was blocked with :53 left.
    The missed kicks would come back to haunt the Rams late in the game.
    Glenwood took its first lead of the game on its opening drive of the second half. Bertini connected with Derek Jones for a 23 yard pass and then found Spencer Smith for 15 yards on the next play. Three plays later Bertini connected with Smith once more for a four-yard touchdown toss the junior wide receiver bobbled in the end zone before hanging on. With the extra-point, Glenwood led 20-14.
    On the ensuing possession, the elusive Wilson, who managed to slip out of the pocket to make plays with his feet and his arm running for a touchdown run and passing for two, would guide his team to the Rams’ 1-yard line. The senior signal caller ran five times on the drive and connected on pair of passes to set up a fourth-and-goal at the one. But Glenwood would hold, repelling Brogan Weddum’s dive into the end zone.
    The Rams, however, couldn’t seize the momentum and punted three plays later.
    This time, the Yellowjackets would not be denied the lead or the game's momentum.
    Wilson would cap a 42-yard scoring driven with a nine-yard touchdown scamper. The extra-point gave T.J. the 21-20 lead with 11:06 to go in the fourth quarter.
    The Yellowjackets’ Matthew Raes intercepted Bertini on the Rams’ next possession to set up T.J. at their own 49. Eight plays later Wilson found Michael Speight on an 8-yard scoring toss to go up 28-20.
    The Rams needed just three plays to respond when Jones raced around the right side for a 49-yard touchdown scamper to set up a potential game-tying two-point conversion instead of an easier extra-point kick. Bertini’s pass would be batted away at the goal line to leave the score at 28-26 with 4:36 to go.
    Glenwood would get another chance.
    After holding T.J. to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Glenwood took over the Yellowjackets? 33 with just under three minutes remaining. But, after gaining seven yards on a pair of runs, Bertini’s final two passes would miss giving the ball back to T.J. to run out the clock.
    Faust doesn’t regret the decision to throw deep on the Rams’ fourth down call later in the game when they needed just three yards for a first down. But he does regret not talking the play over more.
    “I don’t regret the decision to throw it. I’m thinking we should have called a timeout to talk about it a little bit. But I don’t regret it. It was there earlier and it’d been good to us. I thought that was a good time for it.”
    Glenwood out-yarded the Yellow jackets 355 to 262, had less penalties (six to nine) but the Rams turned the ball over more twice to T.J’s zero and, Faust said, played little with little fire. The coach put that responsibility on his own shoulders.
    “I think we could have played better and I think that’s on me,” the Rams first-year head coach said. “I don’t think we had them prepared and we didn’t play with much passion. Especially in the first half and I take a lot of the blame for that. I’m the coach. Those were mistakes that should have been fixed. But I have to give credit to T.J., they did a nice job. We’re going to come back Monday and give it everything we’ve got and get better.”
    Glenwood hosts A-D-M Friday in the district-opener for both teams.

Scoring Summary
G –  07  06  07  06 – 26
TJ – 07  07  00  14 – 28

Game Summary
    TJ – Jakahi Gregory, 85 kick return (kick good).
    G – Sam Jameson, 41 pass from Corey Bertini (kick good).
    TJ – Gregory, 65 pass from Dominic Wilson (kick good).
    G – Bertini, 31 run (kick failed).
    G – Spencer Smith, 4 pass from Bertini (kick good).
    TJ – Wilson, 9 run (kick good).
    TJ – Michael Speight, 6 pass from Wilson (kick good).
    G – Derek Jones, 49 run (conversion failed.