In what head coach Kenny Krouse deemed a "blue-collar effort," the Tinora Rams took care of business on offense, defense and special teams to stay alive in the Green Meadows Conference title race with a 30-6 win over visiting Wayne Trace in front of an appreciative Homecoming crowd at Justin F. Coressel Stadium.
While the Rams (5-2, 3-1 GMC) put up 306 yards of offense, a rugged defensive effort allowed the Raiders just 185 yards - including just 85 of those yards netted by way of the Wayne Trace running game.
In addition to 231 yards and three TD bolts from Kipp McCann, quarterback Derek Drewes was good for 75 yards through the air on 8-of-14 attempts with no interceptions to lead the Rams.
"It's a big win for us," said Krouse. "We just continue to improve through all the adversity that we've faced this year. We just need to control what we can control, and that's to continue to win ballgames in this league and see what happens down the stretch."
Despite going into the intermission with just a 14-0 lead, Tinora controlled the tempo from the opening drive.
Facing constant blitz schemes from the Ram defense, Wayne Trace turned over its opening possession as quarterback Austin Speice threw a pick to Tinora cornerback Kurt Kahle.
Nine plays later, the Rams made good on the turnover as Kahle went untouched around the left side of the line from 15 yards out at the 6:16 point for a 6-0 lead.
In the second stanza McCann rambled 31 yards with a shade less than five minutes left in the half for his first touchdown of the game. Drewes made it 14-0 on a two-point connection to sophomore tight end Austin Mahan.
Speice ended the first half with just two completions for 13 yards due to solid pressure up front by junior defensive end Aaron Urivez and the linebacker duo of McCann and Brad Bodenbender.
Meanwhile, Kahle, Lincoln Cereghin, strong safety Austin Farrington and Dylan Rumbaugh left few open targets for the WT signal-caller.
"It was just built right into the game plan," said Krouse of the Rams blitzing pressure. "We felt we could put pressure on them, and our secondary is pretty good back there as far as when they're called upon to be out there on an island. Linc did a good job and we feel that Kurt Kahle is as good a corner as there is in the area."
Before switching to sophomore quarterback Jake Gerber in the second half, Speice was sacked for a loss four times - twice involving Urivez - as the Raiders netted a total of 54 yards through the opening 24 minutes.
"Our passing game struggled, I'm not going to lie about that," admitted WT mentor Bill Speller, whose Raiders slipped to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the league. "We messed up some blocking schemes a couple times and some stuff that we should have picked up."
Urivez credited a solid game plan put into place by Tinora defensive coordinator Mike Heilshorn.
"The defense played great because of coach (Heilshorn)," said the Tinora junior defensive end. "He spends so much time out there at his house just watching film all weekend and getting us perfect scouting reports. It's just crazy."
Behind an effective offensive front line anchored by senior center Austin Little, McCann put the Rams up 20-0 at the 6:57 mark of the third.
"The coaches worked us hard this week," said Little. "We had a new piece of equipment out there on the field this week and it did us a lot of good. It kept our line low and it kept them moving people, and that's exactly what we needed to do."
After a 37-yard field goal by Farrington gave Tinora a one-sided 23-0 lead, Gerber and the Raiders fired back.
Starting on the WT 39, Gerber drove the Raiders to the Ram 4-yard line on a 35-yard strike to Devin Wenzlick before Dylan Horner plowed in to cut the Tinora lead to 23-6.
"We just felt like we needed something to switch up," commented Speller. "We didn't feel like we were getting the right mix that we needed, and we thought that we might want to try running some option.
However, Gerber threw interceptions to Dylan Rumbaugh to start the half and to Farrington late in the game, setting up McCann's third touchdown bolt of nine yards.
Tinora will now face Ayersville Friday, while the Raiders face Antwerp.
First Downs 10 13
Rushing Yards 37-83 39-231
Passing Yards 102 75
Total Yards 185 306
Passing 7-16-3 8-14-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties 2-20 3-20
Wayne Trace 0 0 0 6 - 6
Tinora 6 8 6 10 - 30
T - Kahle 15-run (kick failed).
T - McCann 31-run (Mahan pass from Drewes).
T - McCann 67-run (kick failed).
T - Farrington 37-field goal.
W - Horner 4-run (kick failed).
T - McCann 9-run (Farrington kick).
RUSHING: Wayne Trace - Horner 19-97; Gerber 4-13; Sherry 3-3; K. Showalter 1-2; Bickford 5-(-6); Speice 5-(-22). Tinora - McCann 20-210; Kahle 7-21; Rumbaugh 2-3; Gerschutz 1-(-1); Drewes 9-(-2). PASSING: Wayne Trace - Speice 2-6-1-13; Gerber 5-10-2-89. Tinora - Drewes 8-14-0-75. RECEIVING: Wayne Trace - Wenzlick 2-64; Bickford 5-38. Tinora - McKenney 5-37; McCann 2-36; Kahle 1-2.