The weather was chilly, the sky overcast, but the stands at William C. Eiserman Stadium were filled to standing room only capacity. Hot chocolate was once again king of the menu at the concession stand while the Rams were kings of the turf dominating a winless Woodstock team on both sides of the ball.
From the opening coin toss with honorary team captain and former Rams football coach Bill Eiserman to the post-game team run up to the fans in the stands to count down the point total after a victory, this game was about connecting an old tradition of winning to a new tradition of winning.
"It was great to see all the community members at the game to rally around the kids who have put in a great deal of time and effort to produce a winner," said Central Head Coach Nick Goshe. "Homecoming is a lot more fun when you start winning some games and you win the homecoming game."
Senior running back Joey Valdivia was a veritable Houdini disappearing into a mass of Woodstock tacklers only to emerge with legs pumping and then put on the afterburners and leave the would be tacklers choking in his exhaust fumes.
Joey ran the ball 14 times for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns. Showing an amazing combination of strength, balance and speed, Valdivia showed the explosiveness of the Rams offense with touchdown runs of 57 yards, 47 yards and 44 yards.
Senior quarterback Ray Beckman was 11 of 18 passing for a total of 166 yards. He spread the ball around effectively. Beckman ran in one touchdown and passed to Rajneish Poyser for another. Poyser caught 3 passes for 50 yards total including his touchdown catch.
"Woodstock is a great team. Their record is 0-4 but they have some playmakers. You are going to earn everything," said Goshe. "I think over the course of the game we were able to wear them down a little bit and pop some big plays."
The defense was smothering, even on a fast Woodstock team. Dylan Hay made a handful of tackles and intercepted a pass to kill a 4th quarter drive by the Blue Streaks.
Senior defensive end Jimmy Molitor should have worn a white uniform since he was in the Woodstock backfield so often making tackles or changing plays with his hard charging style. Molitor had a sack and a fumble recovery on the night.
"We won the turnover game," Goshe said. "That’s an absolute for us. We want to both prevent turnovers and we want to cause turnovers."
Senior linebacker Steven Moioffer was flying to the ball with abandon and recovered a fumble. Senior linebacker Kristian Meehan was wrecking havoc as usual, but had to leave the game in the second half with what appeared to be a concussion.
"Anytime we take a kid out of the game as a precaution and examine him, it’s pretty serious," Goshe said. "We will have him evaluated for next week and see from there. He’s an important part of our defense and I hope he’s okay and able to play."
Senior defensive back Devon Osburn made a handful of tackles showing his speed in the secondary to chase down receivers or come up to make hits on running plays. Senior linebacker Jake Paust was also making plays and displayed a great athleticism on several tackles on the opposite side of the field from where he lines up.
"They have speed that’s comparable to ours in skill positions. They have some playmakers so keeping them contained and getting our second shutout of the season was a good thing."
The score may not have showed it, but this was a hard fought win for the Rams. "There were some bangs in there," Goshe said. "We got some kids that are dinged up, a couple of broken noses. There was some hitting going on."
NEXT UP:The Rams take their unblemished 4-0 record to Johnsburg on Friday, Sept. 23 at 7:15 p.m.