Pee Wee Rams win overtime thriller | SierraSun.com

Pee Wee Rams win overtime thriller

Special to the Bonanza

The North Lake Tahoe Pop Warner Rams returned from the road for their final home games of the season this past Saturday.

The day led off with the Pee Wees versus Carson, and what a show it was as the Rams pulled out a thrilling win in overtime.

The Rams took the opening kickoff and began one of many sustained drives. The ball moved up and down the field all day with both offenses being effective, yet the defenses always found a way to stop their opponent's drives and the game was still scoreless at halftime.

The second half was a repeat and the excitement built while the game remained scoreless, ending regulation play 0-0. The Senators took the first crack in overtime and crossed the goal line on fourth down, but the Rams defense stood strong and denied the extra point try.

With the pressure on and the whole game on the line, Rams running back Joe Wilderman pounded the middle and on third down he lowered his shoulder and pounded the ball and the Carson defender into the end zone to tie the game.

On the ensuing extra point try, Rams quarterback Dylan Cleary faked the ball to Wilderman and ran a bootleg right to the corner of the end zone, making it inside the pylon for the winning point.

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"This Carson game was the most intense and fun game I've played in my six years of football," Wilderman said. "It was so fun because of my teammates and my coaches making this season so great."

Cleary was both gracious and elated.

"Thanks to some amazing blocks from the O-line, we were able to execute our plays and score," he said. "I had the most fun of any game ever, running the extra point into the end zone."

All-purpose player Riley Rau shared thoughts too.

"Today our defense worked well together as a team," he said. "We were able to penetrate and tackle consistently. Offensively, we improved our blocking and by the end of the game we were able to advance the ball for a game-winning drive."

The game set the tone for the Mitey Mites to turn in their most aggressive and tightly contested game of the season when they took over the field against Reno Central.

"The improvement the boys have made over the last couple of weeks is monumental. I could not be happier with how they played this past weekend," Rams coach Russ Levin said. "We faced a well-coached, athletic Reno team that gave us everything we could handle but we gave it right back to them."

Big plays included the Rams' first touchdown pass from Jacob Lutz to Andrew O'Brien and a big block by Auri Fernandez to help Michael Perez make it into the end zone untouched for the second score of the day.

"The biggest moment for me as a coach was a compliment from one of the referees who did our scrimmages in August and he could not believe the difference he saw in our players and their improvement," Levin said.

The Rams finish the regular season with the Mitey Mites in Gardnerville taking on the Douglas Tigers on Friday at 6 p.m. and the Pee Wees on Saturday at South Tahoe High School at 6 p.m.

Stay tuned for the playoff schedule following this week's games. Visit http://www.northtahoepopwarner.com for more info about the Rams.