Tyner football coach Wayne Turner had planned to practice his Rams on the Labor Day holiday. The mood for Monday's practice, however, changed very quickly Friday night.
Even after the Rams' 27-0 win over Brainerd, it was not a pretty speech he gave his gathered team afterward.
"We just didn't take a step forward tonight, and that was what upsets me," Turner said. "I thought we might have a hangover from the win last week [against Signal Mountain], but I also thought I had preached to them enough this week about it being Brainerd.
"I guess we will have to get their attention a little better come early Monday morning."
Tyner (2-0) stuck to a familiar formula in downing the Panthers (0-3), but the decisive score was a little misleading. The Rams used two big plays in the first half and two others in the second half to account for all four scores. Offensively, though, the Ram train was running low on steam.
"I just felt like we didn't play very well offensively. Our defense got after it, but we've got to be a little more focused on offense and we need to get it in a hurry," Turner added.
Tyner limited Brainerd to 29 total yards of offense and the Panthers never really threatened, though, in being shut out for the second time this season. The Rams set the tempo early and even with a sloppy second half (seven penalties for 65 yards), the two early scores were more than enough for the win.
The Rams ran 33 plays to Brainerd's 15 and outgained the Panthers in yardage 117-8 in the first half. Brainerd's defense was up for the battle on every down except fourth. The Rams used a fourth-down conversion on both TD drives. On the initial scoring drive, Willie Stewart got 18 yards on a fourth-and-17 to take it to the Brainerd 12 before Haasan Miller scored the first of his two TDs on a 6-yard burst.
Tony Walton converted a fourth-and-10 run and Miller hauled in Stewart's 6-yard flip to the back of the end zone one play later with just 24 seconds left in the half.
For the second week in a row, the Rams took a second-half kickoff for a score, Stewart going 86 yards to make it 20-0 in a blink of an eye. Tyner scored late in the third period on Martavius Dunnigan's 66-yard fumble return to close it out.
Tyner had more players (14) run the ball than the Panthers had yards rushing (13) for the game. William Womack and Jacoby Ramsey had stellar outings on defense for the Panthers and helped limit Tyner to three second-half first downs.
Both squads will get tested again next week with the Rams traveling to McCallie and Brainerd hosting 6-AA foe East Hamilton.