Local teams move on at AYF nationals

Local teams move on at AYF nationals
December 12
00:00 2014
(pictured above: The Panthers Cadets have victory on their minds.)

The Tiny Rams Unlimited 14s and Panthers Cadets posted opening-round shut-out victories at the Division I American Youth Football National Championships held in Kissemee, Fla., on Sunday, Dec. 7. With the wins, both teams advanced to the semifinal round that was played on Tuesday, Dec. 9.

Punishing ground game

Tiny Rams

The Rams are surging ahead.

The Tiny Rams offensive line controlled the trenches from the opening whistle and the end result was a 30-0 verdict over Santan Valor (Ariz.). Running back Jaquan McMillian rushed for 198 yards and a touchdown to lead the onslaught for the defending national champions.

With the front line operating at peak efficiency, the Rams dominated time of possession. The crew of Kobe Williams, Khalil Clark, Aaron Cullins, Seth Caldwell, Jacob Eaton, Jalen Shelf, Chad Cloud, Alaric Eaton and Chase Cloud averages 250 pounds per player.

“Coming in we wanted to play old-school football,” said Kori Price, Rams offensive coordinator. “Our mindset was all about ground-and-pound on offense and playing solid on defense.”

The defense delivered the first points of the game when Mizell Hall sacked the Santan quarterback in the end zone for a safety. Ty Allen followed up with a six-yard scoring run and McMillian added a 30-yard touchdown run to give the Rams a 16-0 lead at the half.

The Rams (11-0) got production from their passing game in the second half to put the game out of reach. Najeh Frazier threw touchdown passes to Kpogba Lee (25 yards) and Hall (45 yards).

On defense, Clark was the prime performer with three sacks and five tackles. Allen also had an interception to go with his rushing touchdown.

“It was important for us to come out and set the tone early,” said Price. “We’re confident about our chances. We have an off day before the semifinals, so we’ll study film and have study hall for the players, who are out of the school for this week.”

Dominant defense

There’s no question that the Panthers Cadets defense is still very much in lock-down mode. The defense allowed just three first downs in a 25-0 thumping of the Gilbert Dawgs (Ariz.).

“All year long, defense has been our calling card and today was no different,” said Coach Danny Mensh, whose team improved to 10-1. “They were physical and dominated from the very start. It’s amazing to watch.”

For the day, the defense had four takeaways. Anthony Davis finished with three sacks and linebacker Dee Mobley had an interception. Will Mensch led the secondary with five tackles.

Offensively, Jemon Smith led the way with two rushing touchdowns. Tre Pate and John Gullette each ran for a score.

“Ever since we made those (defensive) changes early in the season, we’ve been playing exceptional on that side of the ball,” said Mensh. “We just want to keep doing what we do.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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