It's game day

Del Rio Rams running back Sergio Alameda (7) tries to find some running room against the San Angelo Central Bobcats defense during the Sept. 6 game at San Angelo Stadium. Alameda scored the Rams’ sole touchdown in a 52-10 loss to the Bobcats.

If Del Rio is hoping to pick up its first win of the season tonight, they’ll need to do so against a motivated Kerrville Tivy Antlers squad.

Del Rio and Tivy square off tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Leverman Ram Stadium. Tivy enters the game 1-1 after a 42-35 win over Fredericksburg while the Rams are 0-2 and fresh off a 52-10 loss at San Angelo Central.

Though Tivy and Del Rio are familiar with one another, the battle between the Rams and the Antlers has been mostly a one-sided affair. In the past 20 years, the Rams have just two wins over Tivy with the last coming in 2015 by the score of 14-7.

Last year’s Rams/Antlers game saw the two teams play against not only each other, but Mother Nature, as well. Rain fell for most of the game and Del Rio took advantage, evading Tivy’s defenders and scoring twice in the second quarter to trail by just seven points, 21-14, at halftime.

However, Tivy pulled away with a 20-point third quarter to seal the win.

Tivy’s offense is often varied as the Antlers like to utilize the read-option to great success. Quarterback Trapper Pannell is just as capable with his legs as with his arm and that makes him one of the more dangerous parts of the Kerrville attack.

He scored the go-ahead touchdown in Tivy’s win last week.

Pannell isn’t the only quarterback the Antlers utilize in their offense. Cole Miears is also a major playmaker and will see time against the Rams. He threw for 136 and two touchdowns in Tivy’s last game.

The other major threat the Tivy brings is in the form of senior wide receiver Brooks McCoy.

McCoy reeled in eight catches for 188 yards and three scores in the win over Fredericksburg. He did, however, suffer a blow to the head thanks to a targeting penalty on Fredericksburg and sat out the final moments of the game. His availability for tonight’s game may be in question, but if he can play then expect him to play.

The Rams’ offense hasn’t been able to generate the points needed to stay in their games early.

They fell behind 28-0 by halftime against Warren, and then gave up 28 points in the second quarter to San Angelo Central to once again trail at halftime, 28-0.

In both losses, the Rams did not score until the fourth quarter.

Despite the slow starts, Del Rio has tried to stick to its running game. Senior running back Ivan Basurto and junior Sergio Alameda have done most of the damage for the Rams on the ground. Quarterback Dominic Sanchez has also played a big part in the Rams’ ground game, but he hasn’t found very much success against the staunch defenses Del Rio has seen in weeks one and two.

If the Rams offense can get going early, it will give Del Rio’s defense a chance to rest and stay charged for when they’re needed late.

For the Rams to have success against Tivy, Del Rio will need to avoid turning the ball over early and must not give up the big plays. That means containing Tivy’s running game and not allowing the Antlers’ ball carriers to get outside where they could do significant damage.

Del Rio also needs to avoid costly penalties, so a clear mind and calm demeanor will mean as much as winning the battles of offense versus defense.

A loss would mean the Rams start their third straight season 0-3.

A win could provide a serious spark as the Rams head into their final non-district game next week and then a bye week before district play begins.

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