On Friday, August 30, the Cleveland Rams hosted the Garner Trojans in the Rams’ home opener. The 1-0 Rams went into their matchup with the 1-0 Trojans with the all-time series tied at 3-3. Cleveland also went into their home opener with history on their side, entering the game with a 2-1 record against Garner in Cleveland home openers.
Once the game started, Cleveland came out swinging, attacking the Garner defense. Quarterback Skyler Locklear completed 16 out of 25 passes to end the game with a 64% completion rate. Locklear led the offense with 311 all-purpose yards, four touchdowns, and only one interception and one fumble. Running back Omarion Hampton dominated the game with 207 all-purpose yards on 21 touches and one reception. Hampton also had five touchdowns, four rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown. Hampton also had no turnovers in his 21 rush attempts.
The Rams were also phenomenal on the other side of the ball, racking up four interceptions and a forced fumble. Jonathan Dewalt lead defensive turnovers with two interceptions. Jacquez Durham claimed one interception, Connor Stanley also had an interception, and Dayne Ahola recovered a forced fumble. Senior Sam Holder said, “I like the defense the best since most of the players are returning from last year.” Special teams also seemed to shine–Cleveland’s kicker Shuaib Zayyad went 8-8 with 8 PAT’s for a perfect field goal percentage and gave the offense the ball with a successful onside kick. The Rams’ special teams defense blocked two extra points.
Overall, Cleveland excelled on both ends of the ball in their 33-56 win against Garner. With the win, Cleveland improves to 2-0 on the season while Garner falls to 1-1. Cleveland now takes a 4-3 lead in their all-time record against Garner, and the Rams move up to a record of 3-1 when hosting the Trojans in their home opener. Students often pack the stands, bringing intense energy to the game. Sophomore Crystal Robertson commented on the energy in the student section, saying “My favorite part of football games is the chants that resonate through the student section Cleveland seeks to keep their undefeated record intact as they face Southeast Raleigh on Wednesday, September 4th. The 2-0 Rams host the 0-2 Bulldogs in a game that kicks off at 6:30 PM.