By NEMS Daily Journal
VARDAMAN – The Vardaman Rams took over at the line of scrimmage against TCPS on Friday night to clinch their first division title since 2006 with a 20-17 victory.
For Vardaman coach Justin Hollis, it was the highlight of his four years at Vardaman – not only for the win but for the character his team displayed.
The Rams (6-2, 6-0) went into the game six starters short after suspensions last week and came out, he said, proving their strength of character.
“I couldn’t be more tickled to be their football coach right now. With those suspensions our guys could have just ducked their heads and gave up, but they didn’t.
“Our line of scrimmage guys just took over the game. Lavorris Hatchett and those guys just took it on their shoulders and got us the win.”
Hatchett had 23 carries for 168 yards on the night.
After being deadlocked most of the first quarter, Vardaman took the lead with a 32-yard pass from Ta West to Eric Jones who had 83 yards receiving in the game. The kick was blocked with 3:10 left on the clock.
In the second quarter, West connected with Jones on an 18-yard pass to give the Rams a 12-0 lead. The conversion failed.
The half closed with a TCPS field goal by Conner Chrisman from 28 yards out with a second remaining.
‘OK, let’s go’
“I went out during and time out and talked to the line and they just said ‘Coach, let’s just keep rolling!’ I said OK, let’s go.”
Vardaman opened up the second half with a 3-yard scoring run by West that followed a big run by Hatchett. TCPS answered with a Zachary Tybor 30-yard pass to Andrew Soper. Vardaman held a 20-10 lead at the end of the third.
While the Eagles’ defense held Vardaman scoreless in the fourth, Soper’s 11-yard scoring run with 8:35 left in the fourth closed out the night’s scoring.
Next week, the Rams travel to Thrasher to face a team coached by Hollis’ friend, Trey Rollison.
“They’re a great team. We’re going to have our hands full. He’s got a heck of a ball club and we know each other like the back of our hands. We’re looking forward to a great game.”