Ridge Rocks College Park 23-20

Photo courtesy of Chuck Briese (more photos below)

Coach Dereck Rush and his Oak Ridge War Eagles defeated the College Park Cavaliers (3-2,0-1) 23-20 to pick up their first victory of the season leveling their District 14-5A record at 1-1 (1-5 overall).

In what turned out to be one of the most exciting yet bizarre back and forth football games ever, late in the 4th quarter College Park QB, Brett Buckley threw a 38 yard laser beam to wide-out Charrod Henry, who then scampered into the end zone breaking the hearts of the Oak Ridge faithful and making the score 20-16 in favor of the Cavaliers.

With 35 seconds remaining in the contest, the rest of the proceedings seemed to be just a formality as just a kickoff remained. In the past, College Park has been big on pooch kicking and a fair catch seemed imminent culminating with the obligatory desperation Hail Mary.

Well, College Park had other ideas as CP kicker Chris Barnes sent a squib kick down the middle of the field that Oak Ridge’s Xavier Richardson bobbled, then picked up on the 13 yard line. Richardson, a speedster made a B-line for the west side of the field and then outran everyone, benefiting from a couple of well placed blocks along the way. Next thing you know he hit pay dirt and it was the Oak Ridge crowd’s turn to lose their minds in glory.

But wait a minute – you are playing against CP’s head coach, the legendary Richard Carson. That dude’s got more tricks up his sleeve than Houdini. Sure enough, Oak Ridge kicks off using the pooch kick followed by CP’s version of the Music City Miracle. The kickoff is caught and the receiver then throws a 40 yard spiral to his right to a teammate and you could sense the Oak Ridge faithful’s hearts falling out all over the stands.

Needless to say, the play didn’t work and CP took control on their own 32 yard line. Guess what… it still wasn’t over as CP’s Buckley completed a 30 yard pass down the left sideline and the Cavaliers were in business again. A field goal would send the game into overtime.

It was, however, not to be, as it was ruled that Buckley had traveled past the line of scrimmage before he sent the spiral on its way. A legit and obvious call that even the NFL scab refs wouldn’t have missed.

The seconds rolled off the clock and it was sheer pandemonium as Oak Ridge had just won a huge district game against a big time quality rival.

To open the scoring, Oak Ridge kicker Frankie Ashford connected on a 31 yard field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, as the Oak Ridge pooch kick made its way to a CP player, I commented to anyone near me who would listen how “that’s the most useless strategy in the history of football”. Next thing you know, the CP player catches it and runs to his left only to be gang tackled by no less than three Oak Ridge thieves trying to pickpocket the unsuspecting Cavalier. It worked! The pigskin was yanked loose and Oak Ridge recovered. Maybe I should leave the coaching decisions to Coach Rush.

Oak Ridge had the ball deep in CP territory. Frosh QB Braden Letney completed the short drive with a one yard run and with the Ashford extra point, Oak Ridge was up 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. You’d have to go back pretty far to find an Oak Ridge team that was up after a quarter of football in a meaningful game.

The War Eagles seemed to have it going their way again as they forced another fumble and had possession deep in Cavalier territory. Unfortunately, College Park defensive back Ryder Lucas was up to no good and picked off a Letney pass, racing 96 yards the other way. It was now 10-7, when just a few short seconds before the Oak Ridge fans were thinking 17-0. Lucas had just been responsible for a 14 point turnaround.

Coach Jared "Longhorn" Hunt sends in the War Eagles' offensive play, channeling one of his personal heroes, Mack Brown.

Oak Ridge got the ball back and drove the field, culminating in an Ashford 43-yard field goal that would have been good from 58. The scoreboard read 13-7 Oak Ridge.

Oh, but there was yellow laundry on the field instigated by a CP lineman going offside’s. The refs had to give Coach Rush the choice of accepting the penalty and the first down that comes with it. Nobody expected Rush to take the penalty because only a crazy person takes points off the board. Rush was hired from Tyler John Tyler, not an insane asylum. Let’s be honest, it’s not like Oak Ridge scores boatloads of points in the first place. So what does Coach Rush do? He defies conventional wisdom and takes the penalty, giving up Frankie’s three points. Long story short, Oak Ridge advances the ball close to the end zone but eventually has to settle for a Frankie chip-shot from 21 yards.

We can sum up what Coach Rush did quickly. The man is doing all he can to give his team a jump and to show them how much he trusts them and what they are capable of. Either that or the man has extra large cajones.

There were now just 41 seconds to go in the half so I figured it was popcorn time. I went ahead and called in the halftime score of 13-7. Next thing you know, I come back and College Park had scored a Buckley-to-Henry 33 yard TD. Halftime score, 14-13.

In the 3rd quarter, Frankie scored the only points to make it 16-14 after three quarters of football. In the 4th quarter, you have to tick off 11 minutes and 11 seconds before the scoring and all the craziness starts. See beginning of article to make sure you got all that right the first time you read it. Total insanity!

Letney led all Oak Ridge rushers with 66 yards. Jason Simmons had 44 and Richardson gained 32. CP’s Buckley had 71 yards and Running Back Nicholas Black had 68.

Letney also passed for 119 yards. Buckley had 132.

Blake Guidry caught a ball for 42 yards. Colby Kitterman caught two for 38. CP’s Henry had four catches for 116 yards.

WORTHY OF NOTE:

Coach Rush on the team: “We talk to the players to make sure they stay balanced mentally. This was a big game for them and it would be very easy for them to think this was their season so we constantly talk to them about the mental game. They listen and work hard and the result is a victory against a good team. We are trying to build a real good team and it starts with a solid foundation.”

Coach Rush on Braden Letney:”He is a solid young man and shows a lot of poise in the pocket. I was thinking about bringing him up earlier but I like to keep the freshmen together.”

For a live interview with Coach Rush, go to www.woodlandsonline.com.

The turnovers can tell the tale for sure as CP lost four and Oak Ridge had just two. When the total yards are so close for each team, you can always look at T/O’s. Apparently, Defensive Coordinator Cody Haug devotes a considerable amount of practice time to causing fumbles. Coach, keep it up. It’s gold!  A few years ago, Carson’s Cavaliers beat Oak Ridge because his guys pick-pocketed an unsuspecting Michael Handy at the one inch line, costing Oak Ridge a huge football game.

Guess what: Oak Ridge beat a mobile quarterback. Why not? They’ve had enough practice so the hard work paid off.

In speaking with Coach Haug after the game, he was pumped about how his defense is playing. Of course, being the perfectionist that he is he mentioned how they need to stop the pass better. Buckley was 6-15 for 132 yards. Besides that, Charrod Henry is the BEST receiver you will see this season. Gotta like Haug though. Us media types are always going back and forth behind the benches to follow the action and it seems like Haug is always giving his charges instruction on the clipboard. He’s a fanatic – always coaching. You go, Coach!

I hung out with the trainers most of the night and got to see how insanely hard they work. These are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and what we all should do is thank these people every time we get the chance. CASEY, MIKE AND JULIE DO AN AWESOME JOB WITH THEIR STUDENT TRAINERS!

No surprise Oak Ridge won halftime again. Keep working hard, though! CP was good too. Also, I found out that the football team is not superstitious. They won even though the Liberty Belles ran through and under ladders at halftime again. Most sports people are weird like that. You know, the baseball coach who never walks on the base lines. The football coach who doesn’t allow a player to wear the #13 and so on and so forth.

If you will allow us to be completely serious for a moment. – although we were all absolutely thrilled with the victory, you should know that our happiness doesn’t even touch the level of joy Xavier Richardson felt last night. Yes, he scored the miraculous touchdown allowing Oak Ridge to win but it’s just deeper than that. You see, Xavier lost his brother last year so he plays with a heavy heart every time he steps on the field. Every day, he works hard and tries to honor his brother. Well, we have some good news – yesterday was his brother’s birthday. Really. In talking to Xavier, as he tried unsuccessfully to hold back his tears, he said, “This game was for my teammates and coaches, but most of all it was for my brother.”

His brother had to be proud as ever! Godspeed to you, Xavier!

Oak Ridge is idle next week as CP travels to Moorhead to play Conroe.

Comments to Doug Sarant @ doug@oakridgenow.com

If you missed it, here are some pictures of Friday night’s festivities.  

1

2

3

4

Total

 Oak Ridge

10

3

3

7

23

Woodlands College Park

0

14

0

6

20

 

Scoring summary

 

OKR — Francisco Ashford 31-yard field goal, 1:43, 1st.
OKR — Braden Letney 1-yard run (Francisco Ashford kick), 0:02, 1st.
CPK — Ryder Lucas 96-yard interception return (Christopher Barnes kick), 9:27, 2nd.
OKR — Francisco Ashford 21-yard field goal, 0:41, 2nd.
CPK — Charrod Henry 33-yard pass from Brett Buckley (Christopher Barnes kick), 0:12, 2nd.
OKR — Francisco Ashford 24-yard field goal, 9:32, 3rd.
CPK — Charrod Henry 38-yard pass from Brett Buckley (pass failed), 0:49, 4th.
OKR — Xavier Richardson 87-yard kickoff return (Francisco Ashford kick), 0:35, 4th.

 

Team Stats

 Oak Ridge

 Woodlands College Park

Total yards

290

280

First downs

13

14

Rushes/Yds

51/171

29/148

Average rush

3.35

5.1

Comp/Atts

8/13/1

6/15/0

Pass yards

119

132

Comp pct

61.54

40

Punts

6

3

Punting Yards

203

113

Punting Average

33.83

37.67

Fumbles/Lost

1/1

4/4

Penalties-yards

5-45

5-35

 

 Oak Ridge

 

Passing
Name

Comp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

INT

Braden Letney

8

13

61.54

119

0

1

 

Rushing
Name

Att

Yds

Yds/Att

Long

TD

Jason Simmons

12

44

3.7

0

0

Xavier Richardson

5

32

6.4

0

0

Braden Letney

17

66

3.9

0

1

 

Receiving
Name

Rec

Yds

Yds/Catch

Long

TD

Colby Kitterman

2

38

19

0

0

Blake Guidry

1

43

43

0

0

Demarcus Durst

1

12

12

0

0

 

 Woodlands College Park

 

Passing
Name

Comp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

INT

Brett Buckley

6

15

40

132

2

0

 

Rushing
Name

Att

Yds

Yds/Att

Long

TD

Brett Buckley

12

70

5.8

0

0

Connor McPherson

6

15

2.5

0

0

Nicholas Black

10

68

6.8

0

0

 

Receiving
Name

Rec

Yds

Yds/Catch

Long

TD

Charrod Henry

4

116

29

0

2

Jayden Holden

1

12

12

 

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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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