Blowout Win Highlights Oak Ridge Homecoming Festivities

Terrell Lawrence and Megan ChapaEditor’s note: Please understand that Doug Sarant is a glass-half-empty kind of guy, even if the glass is only 1/4 empty. He makes up for it, however, in his enthusiasm for the Oak Ridge community, as evidenced by his incessantly texting me every 30 minutes this afternoon asking when this article was going to be posted (I was driving to San Antonio with stops in Lockhart for BBQ and San Marcos for an outlet mall)…

The Oak Ridge War Eagles improved to 3-1 as they took care of a weak Baytown Sterling football team last night, 51-21. In the process, Coach Bob Barrett was able to unload his bench as the second team offense played the whole 4th quarter and the back-up defense made their way onto the field with 7 minutes left to go in the contest.

You just knew this game would be a blowout from the start with Baytown Sterling’s first series resulting in a quick three and out that saw Trevor Quick stuff a run for no gain and athletic Defensive tackle Andrew Paige record a sack. The rout was presumably on or so we thought.

Shortly thereafter, QB Chris Grett threw a 9 yard TD pass to Cade Cyr and with Martin Gonzalez’s extra point it was 7-0 with 1.05 gone in the contest.

Later in the quarter, an unsuccessful Rangers drive brought out the punting unit that saw the long snapper send the ball 15 feet over the punters head. Two War Eagles raced into the end zone to pounce on the ball but could not corral it as it skidded out of the end zone adding two more points to the War Eagle tally. The score was now 9-0 with 7:49 to go in the first quarter.

After another unsuccessful possession by Baytown Sterling, War Eagle QB Grett was engineering another drive when on a crafty run to his left, holding the football like a loaf of bread he dropped the pigskin and a willing Rangers defender pounced on it for the turnover. Only yards away from making the score 16-0, Baytown Sterling’s resuscitator was in working order.

In the 2nd quarter, lightning quick Baytown Sterling QB, Chance Nelson ran for a 14 yard touchdown and with the extra point being good, the score was now a deceivingly tight, 9-7.

Baytown Sterling could not move the ball on their next possession. The War Eagles made them pay quickly as on the next Oak Ridge drive, Grett ran for a five yard score to make it 16-7 with 3:57 left to go in the half.

Sterling’s Nelson was in the middle of engineering another drive when he threw a pass deep into Oak Ridge territory that resulted in a Jamal Candley interception that the gifted safety ran back a whopping 73 yards. Oak Ridge failed to capitalize and the half ended 16-7 in favor of the Homecoming team.

Although Oak Ridge was up 16-7, you just knew Baytown Sterling had no business hanging around. On one possession, Michael Handy was ruled to have fumbled in Rangers territory when it was obvious to the 7000 fans in attendance his knee was already down. Even so, people in my section seemed to think the War Eagles were playing way below the level they are capable of playing. It was assumed that Coach Barrett would be giving the team quite the butt chewing in the locker room.

Although confirmed later that there was no butt chewing, the War Eagles came out in the 3rd quarter and broke the game open with 28 straight points bringing the score to 44-7 making me and the people in my section look stupid.

In that 3rd, Grett ran for a 1 yard score at 8:10. Michael Handy ran for a 16 yard TD at 4:54. Wide-out Kyle Adams caught a 51 yard spiral from Grett for a TD at 2:09 and multi-tool player Cade Cyr caught a 34 yard scoring strike from Grett with no time left in the quarter. The reliable Martin Gonzalez was good on all point afters….as usual.

The 4th quarter saw Cyr catch a lazer beam from Grett for a 33 yard TD at 11:06.

Mr 4.2 speed (Rangers QB Nelson) ran for a 38 yard TD and he added two more with a quick run.

Sterling then concluded the scoring for the game when Jamar Gibson caught a 25 yard TD pass from Nelson. The pass failed.

I don’t know, maybe I should stick to Lacrosse but it just seemed like our guys are not even close to playing up to their ability level. Yeah, it’s still early and Oak Ridge is 3-1 with 14-5A play starting next week against College Park which are all positives. I could grab 20 of you fans who do not have a player on the team and there is no way any of you could have predicted before the season that Oak Ridge would have three wins after the fourth week. Still, if you are with me on this NEW Oak Ridge way of thinking and you took an honest look at this game, you can see where the War Eagles need to be quite a bit more solid if they want to hang around against Lufkin and The Woodlands. Oak Ridge is going to have to put together FULL games all the time. The 2nd half was good this week. The first half?…..well…….C’Monnnnnn Mannnn!

I’m not even mentioning College Park, Conroe and Kingwood. Those are games that Oak Ridge should win playing like they did tonight. Atascocita is just a step up from those three and Oak Ridge is capable of beating them as well. However, I guarantee you if our guys play sloppily like they did in the first half tonight, they might let Atascocita slip away. Against The Woodlands and Lufkin, there can be at the most one blunder with the rest of the game seeing Oak Ridge playing awesome football.

In exiting my section to get down on the field near the end of the game, I walked by a player’s parent (John Louwerse) and mentioned how the boys didn’t look too good. He pointed at the scoreboard and said, “44 points! I’d say they look good. Look at the defense”, he continued, “The defense was awesome”…………..Point taken. I agree but lets shoot for the stars. Yeah, lets look at the positives but focus real good on the negatives. This could be the best 5A Oak Ridge season ever. This is no time to rest on laurels.

Team 1 2 3 4 T
Baytown Sterling 0 7 0 14 21
Oak Ridge 9 7 28 7 51

STATS

Rushing:
Grett: 7-63 yards
Handy: 9-63 yards
Pierre: 3-24 yards
Dye:   4-13 yards
Dawson Little: 2-4 yards
Vargas: 1-3 yards

Passing:
Grett: 13-21 320 yards

Receiving:
Cyr: 7-181 yards
Adams: 3-94 yards
Handy: 2-56 yards
Macklin: 1-20 yards

WORTHY OF NOTE:

The Baytown Sterling QB (Nelson) is a great athlete. This is one of the most difficult QB’s and offenses to defend. Why you ask? Because there was no rhyme to their reason. You pictured the Rangers huddle and Nelson drawing plays in the ground; as in, “OK, you go here and cut left, you block, you block, you do a post, you do a curl…now, what I’m gonna do is drop back 3 steps and just freaking run back and forth until I can see some daylight and run for my life.” You know what? That was their most effective play. With that mass of unorganization, the defensive coordinator has to throw away everything he has learned in his life and somehow limit the damage by just containing. You really can’t assign one linebacker to the QB and expect a LB to be able to stop a 4.2 guy every time. The defense did an awesome job with this helter skelter scheme. The defense definitely gets the game ball.

The offensive line was real good. As a matter of fact, they’ve been getting better every week. The offense is moving the ball and Grett has time to think. The O-line deserves some credit.

The hurry-up is working. At one point in the game, the hurry up worked so well Baytown Sterling didn’t have one player ready to play.

The receiving corp is excellent. With Cyr, Adams, Simon, Handy, Macklin and a host of players on the bench capable of making plays, the receiving corp is arguably the deepest position on the team. Cyr is definitely leading the way making sparkling catch after sparkling catch….just don’t throw it to his hands…:P

Special Teams: Lose the freaking Pooch kick! Good Grief!!! OMG!! We have a guy who can kick the ball out of the end zone and we are kicking off and giving opponents room to run at the 32 yard line. Wait, I’m just a fan and a lowly writer so maybe there is something going on I don’t know about. Actually, that is always the case and I just never know what the reasoning is. It could be that they are practicing for future games to keep the ball away from certain speedsters. Maybe Martin Gonzalez has a bad wheel. I don’t know, I thought Coach Hadash switched schools…:P

It was Homecoming: This means that football was secondary and I should have started this article off with everything but the football game. However, none of this other stuff would be happening if it wasn’t for the football game being played. So much was going on besides the game. Lets start with the Homecoming Court:

Duchess and Duke: Kaitlyn Altieri and Ben Hoffman
Duchess and Duke: Tory Garmon and Chase Francis
Duchess and Duke: Serena Bufton-Von Arb and Patrick Robinson
Princess and Prince: Brittni Deunsing and Jeremy Dryer
King and Queen: Terrell Lawrence and Megan Chapa

Yes, the real story of the night is that it was Homecoming. Halftime was awesome! You see the students get all gussied up for perhaps one of the biggest nights they will ever experience in high school. However, this is a huge night for the parents as well. I like to look at the expression on the contestant’s faces (win or lose) when the winners are announced. You can always tell what a kid is like by the way they treat their parents in these situations. In each instance, you can tell it was all about love and pride at halftime which is such a refreshing sight.

The Liberty Belles put on yet another memorable performance. Those girls just continue to amaze everyone. You’ll be learning about the Liberty Belles in a future article.

The Band! I’m not a band guy so I can’t tell if anyone is making a mistake. From a fan’s perspective, it just looks like they are perfect. The rewards these people are winning are hard earned and worthy of all of our respect. We are in the presence of greatness for sure.

The Cheerleaders: At Homecoming, it seems like every cheerleader in town is performing on the sidelines. It’s not like it used to be when I went to high school in the dark ages. These girls are involved in select programs away from school and the competition to be a cheerleader is fierce. The talent level is so much higher. I’d like to think it is a competition filled with togetherness and respect where all of the parents and athletes have this massive team chemistry. There are no Wanda Holloway’s in this bunch.

Color Guard: I’ll be honest. It’s time for me to be educated as to the Color Guard. All I know is they work with the band and they throw up these flags and wooden rifles. When I first saw the wooden rifles, I was like, “Cool, they’re throwing up lacrosse sticks”…then I put my glasses on. So I have no clue. It looks like the average person could practice this tossing-up of these items and never get it (that would be me). Look for an upcoming article on the Color Guard. They add so much to the festivities.

A huge THANK YOU to AFJROTC for getting us started tonight and every night a football game is played. I was at the Senior awards last spring and it seemed like every few minutes another 150 grand was being scholarshipped away to a AFJROTC student. This group has got to be the most decorated (in more than ways than one) organization in the school.

I can’t believe Homecoming is over for another year. This one was the best one ever! As for the football team, it is onward and upward always improving and kicking some royal……uh…er…behind.

GO WAR EAGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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