The North Tahoe Rams ended their three-game season-opening home stand Saturday at North Tahoe High School against the Reno South Jr. Pee Wees and the Truckee Jr. Midgets.
“These are great teams steeped in tradition,” said North Tahoe Association President Scott Wilderman. “We didn’t win either game, but it’s always a pleasure to host teams whose sportsmanship and quality of play we respect.”
The day did include highlights for the Rams.
In the Jr. Pee Wees game, Rams team captain Irving Perez led standout defenders Orion Barger and Fernando Ramirez in slowing the Reno offensive attack. Rookies Fernando Perez and Jose Perez also stepped up on the Rams’ offensive line.
“Both those kids are learning to block and give our running backs a chance to create momentum in our favor,” said Rams coach Tim Cleary.
Other rookies showed promise as well, including quarterback Gage Pierce, who completed his only attempted pass.
“Gage has a good arm, and we see him developing into a fine quarterback,” Cleary said. “And just like last week, Carson Lamberth continued to lead the improvement of our special teams with three great kick returns.”
The Jr. Midgets followed with a tough loss to the Truckee Wolverines, who returned to Pop Warner this season from the Sierra Youth Football League.
“Truckee is a quality organization,” Wilderman said. “We’re very grateful they came back to Pop Warner this year. Nothing pleased me more than the Truckee and NLT Jr. Midgets sitting in the stands watching the Jr. Pee Wee game together. An hour away from taking the field against each other, they were hanging out together and introducing each other to their teammates.”
The Jr. Midget Rams’ biggest on-field highlight came late in the fourth quarter when an errant shotgun snap cleared the Truckee backfield. It took nearly 60 yards and three Wolverines to bring down the Rams’ closest chance to record a score.
In the right place at the right time, Rams defensive end Joe Wilderman described his experience: “I couldn’t believe what had just happened. There was the ball, and I almost just fell on it but all I saw was daylight, so I just grabbed it up and ran as fast as I could. I was so scared but all I could think was, ‘This is our chance,’ so I took it.”
The Rams play at Sparks on Friday night, with the Jr. Pee Wees facing the Saints and the Jr. Midgets staring down the Steelers at Golden Eagle Regional Park. For more information and the remaining Rams schedule, go to www.northtahoepopwarner.com.