Olympians rout Rams for homecoming victory

Jimmy Spillane, Staff Writer

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The Mesa College Olympians defeated the Victor Valley Rams 24-22 on Oct. 20 in a hard fought contest that sent the homecoming faithful home happy. Both teams came into the game looking to rebound from tough losses. Mesa came up short against Southwestern in a rivalry game and Victor Valley were spurned in a close decision to East L.A.

The game was that of the sea-sawing variety which was close throughout. Mesa started the night with an early field goal. Victor Valley then responded with a long drive for a Ram touchdown. This gave the opposition; luckily for the Olympians it would not be for long.

Quarterback Joe Kennedy put forth another strong performance throwing for 216 yards and a touchdown. The Olympians began the 2nd quarter on a sustained drive of 9 plays that covered nearly 80 yards. The culmination being a scoring strike from Kennedy to the sure handed wide-receiver Jay Waddell. The touchdown covered 33 yards and put the Olympians up 10-7 heading into the break.

The defenses of both teams were strong throughout the first half of play. Each squad seemed to stymie the offenses, as yards were tough to come by. Entering the third quarter the Victor Valley Rams seemed to get a full steam ahead. They came out for the 2nd half ready to wrangle the Olympians and ruin the homecoming festivities. Luckily the team was willing and able to collide head on with the visitors from the North.

This seemed to be the most complete game of the season for the Olympians. They executed in all three phases of the game. To which Head Coach Henry Browne agreed, “We played together as a group, limited the mistakes. All three offense,defense, and special teams were all big in this victory.”

With the Rams leading 13-12, the Olympians offense started to kick it into high gear. Mesa began to feed the ball to their running backs, especially stellar running back Steven Okidi on this drive, which was highlighted by a 12 yard score. The Olympian coaching staff seemed to recognize a weakness in the Rams defense. Coach Browne agreed ” Steven is always a part of our balanced attack, he runs hard and is physical.”

Okidi ran for 103 yards that included a 50-yard scamper and 2 touchdowns. He hinted that he might have a big day against the 1-5 Rams. “I watched a lot of game film on Victor Valley and I capitalized on them.” After gaining the lead, 18-16, the Olympians began to work on the clock and continued running the ball along with mixing in a short passing game. The offensive line began to impose their will and dominate the line of scrimmage.

Kennedy sentimented those same thoughts, “The offensive line definitely played their best game of the season by far.” With a 4 yard touchdown by Okidi, the Olympians increased the lead to 24-16 with just over four minutes left to play. The Victor Valley Rams although down were not admitting defeat without a fight. They seemed to be hitting on all cylinders and covered 65 yards in just over 3 minutes. Victor Valley then went in for a 2-yard touching bringing the game to a climaxing conclusion.

The Rams tried to tie the game with a 2-point conversion but failed when cornerback Jordan Porto knocked down the pass, ensuring an Olympians victory. The victory not only secured a much needed win that halted a losing streak, it also still allowed the chance for the Olympians to finish the season with a winning record.

Okidi’s postgame thoughts echoed the same tone, ” It was a good win, a tough win but glad to end homecoming on a positive note.” Mesa improved to 3-4 and 2-2 in the Mountain American Division.