HJH Rams football battle past Mont Harmon for a share of league title
The Helper Junior High football team waited eight years between celebrating what they strive to accomplish before each season: a league championship.
Last week the Rams accomplished that goal by defeating the Mont Harmon Junior High Pirates 22-8 at the Carbon High football field. With the win, Helper won a share of the Castle Valley Athletic Association title with the San Rafael Bulldogs.
Helper entered the fourth quarter up 16-0, before Mont Harmon began to mount a comeback.
The Pirates scored a touchdown on a short run by running back Dallyn Mower. Mower then took the ball again on the two-point attempt to cut the Rams lead in half to 16-8.
Later in the fourth quarter, after stopping the Rams on a fourth down, the Pirates were unable to move the ball effectively. The hope for a comeback were hurt when the Pirates could not convert on a fourth down, giving the ball back to the Rams with 5:39 left in the game.
Helper wasted no time in trying to put the game away. On two consecutive plays, the Rams scored touchdowns on plays by Ryan Atwood and Johnny O'Hearon. However the plays were nullified due to penalties on the Rams. On the same drive, the Rams narrowly missed scoring again as quarterback Alex Ruiz threw a long pass that was just out of the reach of O'Hearon.
Trying to run out the clock and keep the Pirates offense off the field, the Rams converted on a fourth down with the use of a fake punt by Atwood.
Helper added to their lead with a touchdown by Atwood with less than a minute left to push the lead to 22-8.
The Rams sealed the win and a co-championship when Jacob Allred intercepted a pass.
The players celebrated together on the field after the final whistle. The hard work over the course of the season and enduring a tough season last year made the victory that much sweeter, according to head coach Phil Howa.
"This win...it's big time for Helper," Howa said noting that Helper is the smallest school in the CVAA.
Howa, who just completed his 22nd consecutive year coaching the Helper football team, said the dousing of water he received after the game was well worth it.
"It was awesome," he said.
Helper finished the season with a 5-1 record, with their only loss of the season coming against San Rafael, a close 20-14 defeat.
Despite the loss, the Rams got their revenge in their second game against San Rafael. The Rams defeated the league leading Bulldogs 34-14 to grab a share of first place in the CVAA and in the process they handed the Bulldogs their first loss in three years.
"The kids worked really hard for this. It was a total team effort," Howa said.