published Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Rams eclipse East Ridge for third win in row

Tyner made it five in a row over the East Ridge football program Friday, but more important to the Rams, they kept a desperate sprint to the postseason going.

The Rams used a blocked punt by Kenrick Fuller to set up an eventual game-icing touchdown in a 28-14 District 6-AA victory at Raymond James Stadium.

East Ridge held Tyner out of the end zone after the blocked punt but then had to go for it on fourth-and-19 from inside its own 20. It left the Rams with a short field, and they cashed in with 1:15 to play on a 2-yard pass from Haasan Miller to Sadik Spence.

"We got back in it with a big drive in the third quarter and had the momentum, and then they get the blocked punt," East Ridge coach Tracy Malone said.

Tyner, which got off to a slow start and then had to forfeit a pair of midseason wins, was 0-6 with four games left. The Rams since have won three in a row with a home game remaining against Red Bank next week. If they win that one, they will clinch the No. 2 spot in 6-AA and an automatic playoff bid.

"We went a little flat in the third quarter, but we got back into it. I told you we had to punch four tickets. We've punched three and have one to go," Tyner coach Wayne Turner told his team.

The Rams rallied from a 7-0 deficit with three second-quarter scores and went in at halftime with a comfortable 21-7 lead.

They erupted to tie the game and then take the lead on a 31-yard pass from Miller to C.J. Ryals and 2-yard runs by Jaylen Grimes and Spence.

However, East Ridge scored again -- on quarterback Jo Jo Tillery's 5-yard run -- and cut the Rams' lead to seven with 2:43 left in the third period.

"No, I never got nervous. Really," Turner said. "I have a lot of confidence in this team. They know how to play."

As good as the Pioneers performed defensively (allowing just 96 rushing yards), their Tyner counterparts were even more impressive. The Rams held East Ridge to 53 rushing yards (when adding in sack and tackle-for-loss yards).

The Rams were able to corral East Ridge quarterback Tillery fairly well, holding him to 89 rushing yards, but the junior did score one TD and hit a 31-yard pass to Mike Knox to give the Pioneers their early lead. They got two lost-yardage hits and an interception by Alex Summerville.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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