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ROCKVILLE — The grass on the field at Joseph B. Good Stadium told the story of the past 24 hours: a mess of mud, puddles and uprooted grass, remnants of the storm that had postponed the game originally scheduled Friday between the Rockville Rams and Bethesda – Chevy Chase Barons.
Both the Rams and the Barons had kicked off the season with a 0-1 record and would have to wait an extra day to determine who would drop to 0-2 and who would improve to 1-1.
The match took place Saturday afternoon in damp and dreary conditions. While the less-than-ideal conditions posed problems for both teams, the Rams rallied and sent the Barons packing by a score of 18-7.
The victory was new head coach Jason Lomax’s first at the helm of the Rams program. Lomax, a Rockville graduate, had previously spent three years at Springbrook and had also served as Rockville’s offensive coordinator in the past.
“I’m back home. This is my family,” said Lomax. “These guys came to play today and I love my guys more than I can even describe.”
A B-CC fumble deep in Rockville territory ensured the Rams struck first after a scoreless first quarter. Sophomore Conner Pace recovered the ball and bounded 10 yards into the end zone. However, a blocked extra point attempt left the Rams with six points instead of seven. In fact, Rockville missed each of its three extra-point attempts.
The Barons weren’t about to let Rockville have all the glory. Senior receiver Jack Robinson took an 85-yard punt return to the house on B-CC’s next possession. Robinson left the Rockville defenders in the dust as he tore down the sidelines, glancing backwards to see if anyone was trailing him en route to the Barons’ only score of the night.
B-CC held on to its lead heading into the half before the Rams pulled ahead again in the third quarter. Rockville overcame a personal foul penalty early into the drive and made it into the red zone before senior quarterback Cole Fairchild shoved himself through the goal line pile for a one-yard touchdown.
Another Rockville penalty gifted the Barons an extra 15 yards. However, B-CC sophomore quarterback Sahr Mbayo bobbled the wet, slippery ball after the snap. The ball popped out of Mbayo’s hands and into the waiting arms of Rockville senior Antonio Villatoro.
Even though the Rams didn’t capitalize on Villatoro’s interception, the Rockville defense came up with another big stop later in the fourth quarter when B-CC decided to go for it on fourth down. After the Barons turned the ball over on downs, junior Marquez Piatt fired off a 32-yard touchdown run with two minutes left in the game.
Lomax commended his team for playing in adverse conditions, even as a light drizzle started to fall in the game’s final minutes.
“All week we were talking about adversity. Ever since I took the job we’ve been talking about adversity. Life and football are full of adversity,” he said. “Things are not going to go your way in life just how they’re not going to go your way on the field. You just have to keep working through it and that’s what they did.”
The Rams will certainly have to overcome adversity again next week as they are set to take on multi-time state champion and perennial powerhouse Damascus, a team whose current winning streak is one of the longest in the nation.
Meanwhile, the Barons hope to change their season around against Watkins Mill.
“We have to do more of the little things right and that’s what we’ll keep stressing,” said B-CC head coach Chris Pope. “We have to hold onto the football. We have to fight hard until the end and if we do the little things right, it carries over to big things. We have to have a good week of practice in order to get to that point.”