The Hogan Prep Rams knew the first two possessions they would face on Saturday would be the most important.
Trailing O’Hara 6-0, the Rams returned to the postponed game in an ominous position. The Celtics not only had the ball in Rams territory with 44 seconds left in the half, but they were also poised to receive the second half kickoff.
And realistically, things couldn’t have gone much better for Hogan. Not only did it keep O’Hara out of the end zone to end the half, Hogan’s Tyree Greer recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half.
Instead of facing a two or even three possession deficit, the Rams had the ball and would get on the scoreboard for the first time on the way to a 14-6 victory.
The idea of making the first two possessions count was a theme for the Rams as they returned to O’Hara on Saturday.
“Our coaches put in position where we were ready to play and compete,” defensive back Roosevelt Cooper said. “We knew we had adversity coming. We knew we needed two stops.”
With just 32 yards to maneuver, Hogan Prep’s Austin Ogletree-Wolfe scored on a 7-yard run to tie the game 6-6.
It was the first signs of life for an offense that had been plagued by turnovers for most of Friday night.
That’s what made the defensive performance by Cooper and the Rams defense all the more impressive.
“Unbelievable,” Hogan Prep coach Phil Lascuola said. “Any time you give up five or six turnovers and only give up one touchdown scored against you, that’s pretty special.”
The one defensive hiccup the Rams defense had came when Peyton Jones scored in the first quarter on a pitch from Matthew Johnson for a four-yard touchdown.
Even with the rough start to the game, O’Hara was never out of it.
The game was tied until early in the fourth quarter when Dre’Vion Ellis scored on a five-yard run on fourth-and-goal.
Ellis broke a pair of tackles in the backfield to score what would be the game-winning touchdown.
“It snowballed (at the start),” O’Hara coach Jim DeMarea said. “And it wasn’t like we had to stay alive. We still had some nice stops.”
At the end however, it seemed as though the Celtics, which dressed just 24 players, were out of gas.
“The heat got to us,” DeMarea said. “We have 10 guys going both ways and we were flat. We had the opportunity to make plays and stop plays and Hogan did it and we didn’t.”