After every football game this season, Edgewood's defensive players have looked up at the scoreboard to see exactly what they want to see -- a zero for their opponent.
The Rams are the only team in the Baltimore metro area to shut out every opponent so far.
"This is special honestly," senior receiver and cornerback Daniel Anige said. "Each night they've just been giving it their all and laying it on the line. The scoreboard shows it and we're all proud of it."
They're also motivated by it.
The Rams (3-0) have much loftier goals and they're determined to build on what they started during the summer to get them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Despite not allowing a point, they're still striving to get better.
"We have to keep the momentum going," Anige said. "We have to practice harder as the season goes on and give 110 percent in practice each day and we have to cut down on any mistakes and play really smart football."
The Rams defeated Joppatowne, 49-0, Friday night after beating Patterson Mill two weeks ago and Perryville in the season opener by identical 41-0 scores.
Coach John Siemsen, who has 20 seniors, said it all started to come together during the summer.
"I've been coaching now for 21 years, seven as a head coach, and this is the best offseason we've ever had," Siemsen said. "In the weight room, it sounds crazy, but we finally have kids who have over 300-pound bench press. We won the Douglass (Baltimore City) 7-on-7 tournament. There was a smaller Kenwood tournament and we won that. Then we were in the Freaks in Cleats Tournament at Towson [University] and we finished ninth of 38 teams."
Siemsen pointed to defensive tackles William Jefferson, 5 feet 6 and 279 pounds, and Herb Parham, 5-8 and 280 pounds, with being a focal point of a strong defense that has forced eight turnovers in the first three weeks. They're the guys who can bench press over 300 pounds
Anige agreed that Jefferson and Parham make a difference.
"When a team has to account for two big dudes up front and they have to double-team them, that leaves one offensive lineman to guard one of our defensive lineman heads up and our linebackers are free, so I think that just messes up the other team's flow and messes up their playcalling a little bit and we play to that advantage," Anige said.
He and Siemsen both credit coach Darren Hill with making a difference in his second season as defensive coordinator.
Against Joppatowne, linebacker Daryl Cooper and corners Tayshwan McGraw and Miguel Borja recovered fumbles while safety Darian Summerville, and linebackers Amari Jones and Dontae Armwood forced fumbles. Cooper scored after his recovery and corner Ryan Webb returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown.
The Rams have been prolific on offense as well, led by senior quarterback Myron Williams Jr., who has thrown for 326 yards and five touchdowns.
Against Joppatowne, eight Rams combined for 257 yards rushing and five touchdowns -- two by Derrick Delilly and one each from David Coates, AJ Barmer and Jones.
"For our offense, our key is our front line. Whenever our front line has a good game, we always go off them," Williams said.
Anige and Williams also said the team has benefited from a strong Fellowship of Christian Athletes focus, something Siemsen has seen make a difference in the team in a short time. Over the summer, 44 Rams went to FCA camp and Siemsen has a character coach on his staff, Luke Erickson, pastor at Mountain Christian Church's EPICenter.
The mother of a Perryville player posted a message on the Edgewood football Facebook page commending the team for its sportsmanship and thanking the Rams "for staying classy" in their lopsided victory two weeks ago at Perryville.
Williams said the coaches have stressed respect for opponents no matter what the score is and going to the FCA camp "changed my whole life. I had never been to a camp like."
He said it shifted his priorities.
"Last year, I would put myself before the team and this year, I learned I have to put the team before myself," Williams said. "I think focusing on the team is really helping us."
Anige said, "We learned that trash talking and all that stuff is part of football and it's always been around, but at the same time, you always want to help a guy up if he's down, even if he's on the other team. … We're just trying to show other teams that regardless of what the outcome is and who we play, we're still going to be respectful."
The schedule is about to get a little tougher for the Rams, who moved into the Chesapeake Division of the UCBAC this fall after finishing 13-1 in the Susquehanna Division the past two seasons. They won the division title in 2013 and finished second to Bohemia Manor last year.
Friday, they head to Aberdeen, a team that beat the Rams 28-20 last season. Then they play home games against North Harford and Westminster, teams they did not play last season.
Anige said the Rams are ready for the challenge.