Ruckel Rams dominate for win over Destin Marlins in middle school football

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The Ruckel Rams dominated on the gridiron Thursday evening to post a 49-6 victory over the Destin Marlins in middle school action at the Niceville High School stadium.

The Rams' offense scored four touchdowns, the defense scored two and the special teams also got in on the action with a TD.

"They're a solid team and we just didn't play very well," Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan said.

"We had some things we could do ... and we looked pretty good at times, and other times we just made bad choices and decisions," Hinterthan said.

"In this offense you've just got to read on the run and we didn't do that very well," he added.

Destin's Gabriel Escalera makes a catch and tries to pick up some more yardage against the Ruckel Rams. Destin lost 49-6.

Destin's first play of the game was one of the "pretty good" times, with quarterback Wyatt Wainwright connecting with Austin McDowell for a gain of 12 yards. After that it was downhill and the Marlins were forced to punt on fourth down.

Ruckel took over on its own 41 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Kane Lafortune hit Landon Isbell, who took it down the right side for a 59-yard score. Brady Martin kicked in the point after and Ruckel was up 7-0. 

The Marlins sputtered on their next possession and turned it over on downs.

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The Rams then put together a six-play drive, capped off by another Lafortune to Isbell connection for a 9-yard TD catch. Martin was good for the PAT and a 14-0 lead.

On Destin's next possession, the Marlins gained 7 yards on a catch by Brandon Schwind. Two plays later, Wainwright was picked off by Ruckel's Reilly Six, who ran it back 20 yards for the score. The PAT was good and Ruckel led 21-0 with 1:33 to go in the first quarter.

At the start of the second quarter, Ruckel scored again when Lafortune hit Isbell on a route on the right side for a 31-yard TD. On the extra-point kick, Destin was called for roughing the kicker. Ruckel then went for two, but was stopped by the Destin defense.

Destin's Maddox Hayles carries the ball for some tough yard against the Ruckel Rams. Destin lost 49-6.

About midway of the second quarter, Destin put together its only scoring drive of the game. Wainwright connected with Tracen Trahan for a gain of 5 yards. Destin then picked up a first down on a pass interference call against the Rams. With the ball at about midfield, Wainwright hit Gabriel Escalera for a gain of 7 and then 9 yards. He then went to McDowell for a pickup of 24 yards. On the next play, Wainwright hit McDowell in the end zone for a 2-yard score. The 2-point conversion attempt was picked off.

On the kickoff, the Rams brought the ball out to about the 50 before the ball popped loose and Destin's Owen Atkins made the recovery.

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Destin failed to take advantage of the turnover and gave the ball back on downs. Destin again got the ball back on another fumble recovery by Zachary Clark.

The Marlins made one first down on a 7 yard catch by McDowell and a catch by Escalera for a gain of 10. However, two plays later Wainwright was picked off by Ruckel's Jorden Bryant, who ran it back for a 40-yard score. Martin kicked in the point after and Ruckel led 34-6 at the half.

Destin quarterback Wyatt Wainwright completed 17 of 34 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. Destin lost 49-6.

To start the second half, Ruckel's Bryant ran the opening kickoff back 73 yards for the score. Lafortune connected with Harper Campbell for the 2-point conversion and Ruckel led 42-6 to start a running clock.

Ruckel scored one last touchdown on a 60-yard pass play from Lafortune to Isbell. The PAT was good for  a 49-6 finish.

For the game, Ruckel's Lafortune completed seven of nine passes for 169 yards and four touchdowns. Destin's Wainwright completed 17 of 34 passes for 156 yards, one TD and two interceptions.

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With the loss the Marlins finished up 3-4, while Ruckel went undefeated.

"I'm proud of these guys. We had a lot of adversity and we didn't line up the same 11 guys all year. It's hard to get continuity and consistency. But I'm still proud of them," Hinterthan said.