Garces falls in thriller at Frontier in SWYL opener

The highs and lows of a competitive football game had the ball bounce the other way in the end for Garces.

Despite trailing Frontier by 12 with four minutes left, the Rams had a shot at the comeback that fell short in a 40-35 loss to the Titans on Friday night.

Playing without three starters on the offensive and defensive lines, Garces overcame seven penalties for 95 yards, including two touchdowns called back to pull within five and got the ball back with with 1:40 to play as Peter Delis’ onside kick bounced off the helmet of a Frontier player and the Rams recovered.

“We need to win the penalty ratio,” Golla said. “We have to put this whole thing together. On offense, we were dynamite and on defense we were great at times then just shot ourselves in the foot. We really believe this team can be something special.”

But on a record-breaking night for Joseph Campbell, the senior was picked off on the final offensive play for the Rams with 40 seconds left to seal the victory for Frontier.

“I really felt like our kids battled offensively,” Golla said. “We had two brand new tackles. For us to score that many points, it’s a credit to that offense and their belief in what we are doing. Defensively, you look at all of the penalties. We have to win in all phases.”

Campbell three for 299 yards and three touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, Campbell broke Mike Lewis’ 33-year record for career passing yards at Garces. Lewis held the record at 4,231 yards. 

The Rams got on the ball first as Campbell found Jack Hatten for a 44-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. 

The Titans responded with a touchdown on the ensuring drive, but missed the extra point attempt to keep the Rams in the lead, 7-6.

After Frontier took a 12-7 lead, Garces came back as Campbell found Xavier Marshal for an 18-yard touchdown and then connected on the two-point conversion to make it 15-12 Rams with 6:35 left before halftime. Campbell and Marshall connected eight times for 100 yards.

Again, the two teams traded touchdowns before the half as Campbell’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Bradford gave the Rams a 22-19 lead at the half. 

Frontier needed just two plays to re-take the lead in the third quarter at 26-22.

Frontier scored again to lead 33-22 before Campbell scored from two-yards out to cut the lead to 33-28 before Frontier scored again with four minutes left.

Campbell threw his first of two interceptions on the ensuing drive, but the Garces (2-4, 0-1) defense stopped the Titans on three downs to give the Rams a shot.

Campbell completed a 28-yard pass to Marshall, who was called down by contact at the 1-yard line before Andrew Wimberely (10 carries, 92 yards) scored on the next play to cut the lead to five for Frontier.

But after the Rams got the ball back, another penalty pushed the Rams into a fourth and 20 situation that ended the game with a victory formation for Frontier. 

“We really believe that in the process, we can be really great,” Golla said. “And it doesn’t end tonight. We had terrific senior leadership. Those guys battled … I really believe they love each other and care about each other. That’s why we feel we will be great.”

Frontier 40, Garces 35

RUSHING: Smith 6-26, Campbell 9- -15, Wimberley 10-92.

PASSING: Campbell 24-38-2-299.

RECEIVING: Smith 1-18, Hatten 2-61, Bradford 7-60, Bell 3-42, Marshall 8-100, Wimberley 3-18. 

W-L: GMHS 2-4, 0-1 SWYL; FHS 4-2, 1-0 SWYL. JV: FHS 9, GMHS 7. F/S: GMHS 14, FHS 14