Week 3 recap: Daugherty brothers guide Rams to gritty win over Kuemper
By Brandon Hurley
Hopefully, the slow starts quickly become a thing of the past.
The Greene County Rams, bolstered by a staunch defense and an advantageous offense, sprang to victory in week three.
The breakthrough largely can be attributed to the electric play of a brotherly connection.
Patrick and Richard Daugherty ignited the Rams after a scoreless opening half, sending Greene County to a 13-3 victory over Kuemper Catholic Sept. 10.
The twin brothers ooze confidence and swagger, often sparking the Rams at vital moments. Patrick has been a pleasant surprise in the rushing attack, a quick change of pace back who has scored twice on five carries this fall while Richard has picked off a pair of passes. The pair are multi-talented, each able to transition to the other side of the ball, with Patrick also recording an interception, Richard has tallied four receptions.
The junior pair is quite the combo, one the Rams are thrilled to call on, head coach Caden Duncan said.
“Richard and Patrick both made some big plays for us and they’ve been great contributors for our team,” the coach said. “They are both very talented and are highly competitive players who always play hard.”
The Daugherty’s impressive talents helped transform a potentially disheartening home loss into a night of celebration last week, using their speed and athleticism to propel the offense. Greene County’s defense surrendered its first points of the game midway through the third quarter on a short field goal, falling behind 3-0.
Richard then quite literally took the contest into his hands, returning the ensuing kick-off 88 yards inside the five yard line. Two plays later the Rams held a 7-3 lead following Bryce Stalder’s short touchdown run.
Richard’s long, tackle breaking jaunt sparked a sputtering offense, plagued by early penalties and a trio of turnovers. His breakout couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
“That kick return was huge,” Duncan said. “We needed to swing the momentum back to our side and that play certainly accomplished that. It was one of the best effort plays I’ve ever seen, he just refused to go down.”
A defensive stalemate continued until the other Daugherty brother made his presence known. Patrick entered the scoring fray in the fourth quarter, turning Greene County’s one score advantage into a double-digit lead, bursting through the line for a game-clinching, 54-yard touchdown.
Patrick rarely, if ever, backs down from a challenge. He barks at opposing players, and celebrates when the situation allows. His second long touchdown of the year was a perfect exclamation point in a gritty win.
“Patrick is talented and confident, but he’s also coachable and smart,” Duncan said. “That combination allows him to play fast and aggressively, and the team has reaped the rewards of that.”
The victory certainly didn’t come easy, a battle of attrition and perseverance.
Greene County (2-1) has made a habit of slow starts this fall. The Rams have scored just seven points in four out of six possible first half quarters, which resulted in an opening week loss against AC/GC and a narrow rivalry win last week. While Greene County was scoreless for the opening 24 minutes, the Ram defense held Kuemper in check, forcing the week three matchup into a halftime tie.
The game was there for the taking.
Duncan pulled his guys together, encouraging patience and discipline. Several penalties and miscues held GCHS back. A holding penalty in the first quarter even wiped away a potential 50-yard touchdown. The Rams simply needed to relax and capitalize when the situation allowed.
“The message at halftime was that we needed to stop beating ourselves,” Duncan said. “We felt like we had opportunities to blow the game wide open but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
The Rams held Kuemper to 166 total yards, including an impressive 55 yards on the ground while forcing a pair of turnovers. The Knights entered the week three contest having hung up 34 points and 229 rushing yards the game prior, only to run into Greene County’s buzz saw. The Rams have surrendered just 11 total points in their last 10 quarters of action, igniting a confident bunch. Despite their recent success, coach Duncan believes there’s more left to be desired.
“The defense was pretty aggressive and we felt like we had a good game plan for their offense,” Duncan said. “We have to do a better job on third down and being disciplined going forward, but overall it was a pretty solid night for the defense.”
The Rams tallied 285 total yards of offense in week three, including 215 yards on the ground, anchored by 85 yards from Nate Black and 64 total yards and a score from Patrick. Stalder tallied 96 total yards, a rushing touchdown and three interceptions. He ranks ninth in Class 2A with nine total touchdowns. Sophomore Gavin Scheuermann led the way defensively with 8.5 tackles and a sack while Richard Daugherty came away with an interception.
The victory improved Greene County’s season record to 2-1 as Class 2A, District 8 play gets underway Friday. The triumph certainly wasn’t pretty, though Duncan believes it lends itself to an encouraging stretch run. A district title is the only mindset.
“The biggest takeaways were that we fought through adversity and found a way to win, and that we did not play anywhere near our best but still beat a pretty talented team in Kuemper,” the coach said. “If we can sure some things up in terms of focus and discipline, the sky is the limit.”