War Eagles Can’t Bring Home the W for Homecoming

Homecoming queen Makenna Spencer and Homecoming king Carlos Canizalez had a better night than the War Eagle football team. Photo courtesy of Chuck Briese. More photos below.

The Conroe Tigers and kicker Neal Sharples were all but left for dead after Sharples was off target on a late 4th quarter field goal attempt. Oak Ridge fans were already thinking how 2-1 in District 14-5A will most likely put the War Eagles in the postseason if they win one of their three remaining games.

Then the fans woke up and realized Oak Ridge was called for a roughing the kicker penalty giving Conroe a first down. Shortly thereafter, Conroe’s Larry Day strutted six yards for a Tiger touchdown followed by a successful Stedman Bell to Markelle Lee two point conversion pass putting Conroe up 30-24 with 5:11 left in the game.

Oak Ridge was not finished yet as they drove the ball down the field and with a 4th and 6 play deep in Conroe’s zone, QB Braden Letney threw a pass to Jamarcus Durst in the back of the end zone that Durst caught but landed just beyond the end zone with a little help from a Conroe defensive back. As a result, Conroe took control of the ball and ran out the clock.

Asked later for a reaction to the play in the back of the end zone that led to Oak Ridge’s demise, Dereck Rush was all class. “We had some missed opportunties. That play didn’t decide the game. We’ve just got to get our mistakes fixed and see what happens.”

To begin the contest, Oak Ridge won the toss and elected to kick. Conroe’s first possession resulted in a three and out. Oak Ridge took possession after the Conroe punt and Letney led the War Eagles down  the field. Oak Ridge executed a perfect bubble screen that saw Kwame Etwi zig-zag down the field for a 39 yard gain. Letney then threw a quick pass in the flat to DeMarcus Durst at the 19 yard line who made it into the end zone as a result of Jamarcus Durst’s perfectly placed block at the 15 yard line. Oak Ridge was quickly up 7-0 after a Frankie Ashford extra point.

Following the ensuing kickoff, Conroe’s Bell executed a mini-drive culminating in a 25 yard Neal Sharples field goal making the score 7-3.

In the second quarter, on a 4th and 13 play from the 25 yard line, Letney hit Etwi in the east flat that Etwi took to paydirt making the score 14-3 Oak Ridge.

Later in the 2nd quarter, Conroe’s Day ran for a 13 yard TD and with the successful extra point  the score was 14-10 with 7-34 to go in the first half. Oak Ridge’s next possession ended quickly as Conroe’s Lonnie O’Neal recovered a fumble that the Tigers took advantage of to the tune of a one yard TD by Connor Greer. Conroe went for two and the run failed. Conroe 16-14.

The War Eagles were not done as DeMarcus Durst traveled 32 yards for a touchdown and with Frankie being automatic, Oak Ridge was up 21-16 with 1:38 to play in the half.

Conroe then returned the ensuing kickoff into War Eagle territory. The offense took over and with 22 seconds left to play in the half, QB Bell ran for a 7 yard TD. Sharples kick was no good. 22-21 Conroe at the half.

After a fantastic Homecoming halftime that will be celebrated below, the 2nd half brought out the good defense in each team as no points were scored in the 3rd quarter.

The 2nd half scoring didn’t start until Frankie Ashford kicked a 35 year field goal with 8:01 left in the game. Frankie’s efforts were made possible by Letney as the young QB raced 14 yards putting Ashford in position for the trey. Oak Ridge was up 24-22 but unfortunately it would not stay that way.

Conroe’s Stedman Bell passed for 190 yards and ran for another 58. Larry Day ran for 85 yards. Karl Smith had four grabs for 89 yards.

Oak Ridge’s Letney passed for 168 yards with one INT and ran for 41 yards. Colby Kitterman caught four spirals for 46 yards and also threw one completion. Etwi had four receptions for 70 yards.

WORTHY OF NOTE: Let’s give this Oak Ridge football team some credit. I’ll admit after watching this team play the first five games I didn’t think they’d have a prayer to win a game. Granted, we all could see how Coach Rush was building a solid foundation and the future looked bright. FUTURE – not this year – the years to come. What does this team do? They put it all together and beat a good College Park football team. Then, they should have beat Conroe if not for a roughing the kicker at crunch time. BTW, take nothing away from the responsible party because in that situation you are going for the block. The risk-reward didn’t work out this time but this is football and you play aggressively.

Javione Murphey-Jones recovered a fumble on a botched Conroe punt return eventually leading to an Oak Ridge score. Dude is quicker than an Anderson Silva swinging back-fist.

Once again, Coach Rush defied logic and went for it on a 4th and 13 when he had Frankie in waiting. What happens? Touchdown! The man’s got a pair. Nuff said.

On Conroe’s kickoff to start the 2nd half, Xavier Richardson ran for another touchdown only to have it taken away by an illegal block. Xavier’s turning into a human highlight reel all by himself.

The offensive line of Grant Homrighaus, Shea Potts, Taylor Dye, Justin Smith and Connor Waldron are doing an excellent job. There are others that I’m probably missing. These are the guys that don’t ever get the credit they deserve. It’s lonely in the trenches doing the dirty work.

The band was given 10 Grand by Mr. Buckelew of Buckelew Chevrolet which was celebrated at halftime. No doubt Jack Allen will put that money to good use in Gotham, treating his charges to a heavy dose of Delmonico’s after their Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performance. Wait a minute, how many band members are there? Better bring an extra 30 large, Jack!

The defense gave up three first downs in the second half. Count em..THREE. That’s darn good.

The Cheerleaders did an awesome job once again. Shout-out to injured cheerleader, Macey Calhoun. She was hobbling around with her right ankle taped up and even tried to get in on some cheers. I was assuming she attained the injury working hard at cheerleading. When asked how she got injured, her response was…”I got run over by a truck in the Oak Ridge high school parking lot.” I ended the conversation right there assuming she might want to treat her BF better. Tough town!

I tried to get the names of the AFROTC presenters but I’m just not sure when these individuals are allowed to talk.

Well, we’ve finally come to the highlight of the evening!


King: Carlos Canizalez

Queen: Makenna Spencer

Senior Duchess: Hannah Diller

Senior Duke: Frankie Ashford

Senior Duchess: Taylor Moss

Senior Duke: Forest Wharton

Senior Princess: Mariela Arias

Senior Prince: Germod Williams

Junior Court: Madison Schmid and Demarcus Durst

Soph Court: Amy Sharp and Durbin Feltman

Frosh Court: Kayla Gallagher and Beau Ballard

We witnessed some very proud mom’s and dad’s walk with their kids on a night they will all cherish forever.

Although the football team lost, they played well and the future continues to look that much better every week. All in all, it was a great night.

See you at Delmonico’s for Thanksgiving… shhhh… it’s Jack Allen’s treat.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com. Stats to follow below the photos.

If you weren’t able to make it to the Homecoming game, here are a few photos of what went on: 

Conroe 30 Oak Ridge 24 – Final
Conroe Overall: 3-5 District: 2-2
 Oak Ridge Overall: 1-6 District: 1-2
Friday October 19, 2012 7:30pm












 Oak Ridge







Scoring summary


OKR — Demarcus Durst 19-yard pass from Braden Letney (Francisco Ashford kick), 8:54, 1st.
CON — Neal Sharpless 8-yard field goal, 5:16, 1st.
OKR — Kwame Etwi 25-yard pass from Braden Letney (Francisco Ashford kick), 11:52, 2nd.
CON — Larry Day 13-yard run (Neal Sharpless kick), 7:24, 2nd.
CON — Connor Greer 1-yard run (kick failed), 2:22, 2nd.
OKR — Demarcus Durst 32-yard run (Francisco Ashford kick), 1:38, 2nd.
CON — Stedman Bell 7-yard run (kick failed), 0:22, 2nd.
OKR — Francisco Ashford 35-yard field goal, 8:01, 4th.
CON — Larry Day 6-yard run (Markelle Lee from Stedman Bell), 5:11, 4th.


Team Stats


 Oak Ridge

Total yards



First downs






Average rush






Pass yards



Comp pct






Punting Yards



Punting Average









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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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