Coffeeville ends Vardaman’s season in first round of playoffs

The Vardaman Rams season ended last Friday with a 35-21 home playoff defeat against Coffeeville in the first round of the playoffs.

“Turnovers and mental mistakes really cost us,” Vardaman Coach Justin Hollis said. “Our effort was lights out. We just had some mistakes that really cost us.”

The Rams, 8-5, held the Pirates on their first possession and were then driving for a potential score when they fumbled inside the 5-yard-line.

“I thought that was big,” Hollis said. “We had them on their heels, really taking it to them and then the costly turnover.”

Coffeeville led 7-6 at the half with the Rams’ score coming on a 29-yard run by Donta Walker. The Rams quickly took their first lead to open the third quarter with a touchdown drive. Walker, who finished with 246 yards and three touchdowns, scored the touchdown on another 29 yard run. Dillon Landreth’s extra point put Vardaman in front 13-7.

The game went back and forth from there with the Pirates scoring early in the fourth quarter on a 66-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Rakeenon Nicholson to tie the game at 21.

“That was a huge play in the game,” Hollis said.

A few plays later, Demarcus Neal would return another Ram fumble 29 yards for a touchdown to put the Pirates in front 28-21 with 9:52 to play.

Coffeeville would add a 1-yard touchdown run by Antarius Moody late in the game to put it away and end the Rams’ season.

“It was a tough loss. We felt good going into it,” Hollis said. “We just couldn’t overcome the mistakes.”

Hollis said despite the defeat, he takes great pride in the team and this group of seniors.

“They were 15-1 in the region the past two years and won two region championships,” Hollis said. “The expectations weren’t there for this team coming into the season and they still did it. I think that says a lot about their character.”