NORTH EASTON, Mass. – If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Oliver Ames used a strong ground game from senior back St. Clair Ryan and a suffocating defense to roll over Pembroke, 28-6.
Ryan finished with 158 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns, including the winner in the second quarter. The Tiger defense limited Pembroke to just 51 total yards, despite giving up a 59-yard touchdown. Oliver Ames defense limited Pembroke to no gain or negative yards on eight occasions, including three sacks.
The Tigers got going early, scoring on their first drive – 13 plays, 61 yards in 4:51 – capped off on a 2-yard run from junior Matt Berksza. The OA defense also set the tone early, forcing the Titans to go three and our on their own opening drive.
“For us, it was a very important game to bounce back from Franklin,” Oliver Ames head coach Jim Artz said.
“I like what we are becoming. We’ve kind of taken on a little bit more of a smash mouth persona. It’s been good for us.”
The balance of rush and pass attempts kept Pembroke off balance, allowing Ryan to average 5.6 yards a carry.
“The way they were defending, there were certain things we saw that we liked,” Artz said on Ryan’s rushing attempts. “He’s gaining each week.”
Pembroke came within one when quarterback Brandon Cory found a wide-open Nicholas Burns for a 59-yard strike. On the ensuring drive, OA took the wind right from Pembroke sails, marching 61 yards again, this time on 9 plays – including a fake punt fourth down conversion – finished off by a 21-yard scamper from Ryan.
After the Titans went three and out, Berksza added his second of the day from 1-yard out, set up by a 24 yard run from Ryan, giving the Tigers a 20-6 lead.
The second half didn’t treat Pembroke any better.
Only down two possessions, Pembroke opened the second frame with the ball, but on third down, Cory was sacked by Joey Tepper and Brandon Gagliardi.
“We came out and just did a horrible series,” Pembroke head coach Bob Bancroft. “That set the tone. The rest is history.”
OA took their first drive of the second half 40 yards for a score off a 4 yard run from Ryan.
The Tigers capped their scoring when Colin Lozzi forced a fumble on a strip sack in the end zone. The ball rolled out of bounds for a safety. It was Lozzi’s second consecutive strip sack, the play before costing Pembroke 19 yards.
The Tigers will be back in action next Saturday, when they host Taunton at 2:30 at Muscato Field.