Ridge Falls to A&M Consolidated and Their Tuba Player 28-7

Photo courtesy of Jim Eastin, More photos from Jim Eastin and Chuck Briese below.

The Oak Ridge War Eagle football team traveled to College Station’s Tigerland Stadium and turned in another gritty performance against yet another 14-5A powerhouse in the A&M Consolidated Tigers (7-2 overall and 4-1 District 14-5A). Unfortunately, this young Oak Ridge (1-7 and 1-3) team took another loss in turning in a respectable 28-7 showing.

With both Bryan and College Park losing, the 14-5A league leading Tigers clinched a berth in the playoffs.

Going into the game, the alleged area high school football gurus thought Oak Ridge would not give A&M Consolidated much trouble. To the contrary, Oak Ridge Defensive Coordinator Cody Haug’s defense held the offensive powerhouse to just four first downs and a total of 114 yards in the first 24 minutes of play. In fact, early in the second quarter with the score deadlocked at 0-0, Oak Ridge was driving and was looking to cash in on the A&M five yard line. It was not to be, as on third down the Tigers took a page out of the War Eagles playbook in the form of A&M’s D.J. Jackson stripping the ball from Oak Ridge quarterback Braden Letney. A&M’s Corey Stoll was up to no good as well, picking up the fumble and racing 25 yards and the Tigers were out of trouble.

The turnaround was obviously a momentum changer with the Tigers’ strong defense, as every opportunity would have to be taken advantage of by the Oak Ridge offense, which is ranked near the bottom of District 14-5A. Give A&M’s defense credit as they came into the game with 19 takeaways on 9 INT’s and 10 fumble recoveries.

The home team expected to play stingy defense. What they didn’t expect was for the War Eagles D to be following suit. The only score in the first half came with just over a minute left. With A&M on Oak Ridge’s five yard line enjoying a first and goal situation, the War Eagles didn’t make it easy with the Tigers finally scoring when Xavier Jones took it in from the one on 4th down. Halftime score: A&M 7 Oak Ridge 0.

After the halftime festivities, the Tigers emerged from the locker room like a house on fire, scoring on three of their first four possessions, finally solving the stubborn Oak Ridge defense. A&M Coach David Raffield was not giving the Oak Ridge defense any credit as he was quoted after the game thusly, “We were a little rusty on offense.” Raffield said. “I think the weather had a lot to do with it – the first time playing in the wind and the cold. They (A&M players) stayed steady. They overcame. The defense carried us. We went in at halftime and talked about our own execution hurting us. It was what we were doing. We made the adjustments.”

Raffield is correct in that his team made adjustments and overcame. However, you’d be hard pressed to convince anyone in attendance that the tough Oak Ridge defense had little to do with the A&M Consolidated first half futility on offense – class act, Coach! That’s okay – we over here in Smallville will take the high road and just keep plugging away.

With the Oak Ridge defense stacking the box with six and sometimes seven lineman, the A&M coaches must have set up their own version of the Algonquin Roundtable [Editor’s note: this is the first time in recorded history that the Algonquin Roundtable was referenced in a story about a Texas high school football game] and came up with… OH, I GUESS PASSING MIGHT BE THE WAY TO OVERCOME THIS OBSTACLE!” Good deduction, Coach.

Give the A&M players credit – they are talented and they come in numbers. They are at least two deep everywhere. Their starting QB was knocked out earlier in the season so the players and coaches had to improvise and they adapted. You know what, I’ll admit it – they are well coached. Even with losing their talented QB, Jaylan Cheshire they made senior Weston Garner the starter, and what a good choice that was. Garner threw for 178 yards on 12-18 passing. For those of you who did not attend the game, A&M’s final passing stats were 14-23 for 198 yards. That doesn’t compute because they used several QB’s. I lost count. They came at Oak Ridge with everything but the kitchen sink – yes and that includes a tuba player (I’ll explain later). They used the Wildcat, the Option, the Spread. They used crossing patterns, go patterns, bubble screens, wheel routes. We were watching the defensive coaches work their tails off giving their charges the best possible strategies to combat the expansive A&M offense.

As far as the Oak Ridge offense is concerned, with 3:08 to play in the game, Braden Letney hit Colby Kitterman with a 25 yard TD pass. In play action, the A&M linebackers bit, freeing Kitterman over the middle on the fourth-and-14 play.

You’d like to see the offense produce more but they are doing a yeoman’s job while being undersized against every 5A opponent they play. I know if you talk to the Oak Ridge coaches they will tell you size doesn’t matter in football. At least that’s what they tell their players. What’s great about it is the players are believing it. All you need to be successful is to believe. Sure, you can say success starts with W’s. Here at Oak Ridge we aren’t getting many of those but we can see light at the end of the tunnel and anyone who knows anything about football is impressed with this group hanging around these real solid 14-5A football teams. Let’s face it – if you started the season a bit later and accounted for the lack of spring football, Oak Ridge would be 3-1 in district now. Why? Because the Bryan and Conroe losses would have been W’s.

QB Braden Letney was 9-21 for 93 yards. The team ran for just 78 yards making the total team output 171.

The Oak Ridge defense held the Tigers to 112 yards on 29 carries. You might be thinking that is not a good number for the defense. Take into account that when the Tigers beat The Woodlands 21-14, they gained 188 yards on the ground.

WORTHY OF NOTE:

The defense gave up a total of 310 yards. They came into the game giving up 365 yards a game which was good for 3rd in district. In giving up 310 they improve their standing. Oak Ridge is giving up around 24 points a game which is right around 2nd in district.

I hope I’m getting the number right, but #12, DB Tyler Marcel made a touchdown saving tackle on an A&M player twice his size at the one yard line. Most smaller guys would have gone low on contact with the bigger player’s momentum elevating the player up and into the end zone. Marcel stayed up and  got in on the picture perfect collision knocking the opponent out on the one. Granted, he got the worst of the play but he made the sacrifice, which is what these players are doing this year. When asked by the Oak Ridge trainer if he knew where he was, I believe the response was “Kansas”.

One of A&M Consolidated’s offensive tackles (Might be a G) doubles as a tuba player in the A&M Consolidated marching band. We were watching the halftime activities commence and this big, sweaty dude struts by wielding a huge musical instrument. That is awesome! 1) Because this type of moonlighting is usually something you’d see at a smaller school or private school where football isn’t life and death like it is in Texas 5-A football. 2) Because where I was slamming the coaches before, we have to commend them for allowing an important member of their team to basically skip halftime every game. This halftime especially because they had work to do to solve Oak Ridge’s annoying defense. 3) Because it’s just awesome that this young athlete stuck with band and football. You don’t see that much. Just about every kid gets involved in band but if they are also a football player, the band activity almost always stops in 8th grade. This kid deserves a ton of credit, as do his parents, and I already mentioned the coaches. I know Oak Ridge band director Jack Allen would love to see this going on at Oak Ridge.

Incidentally, I went over to the concession stand to get some hot chocolate early in the 4th quarter and I could have sworn the dude who sold it to me was the Tuba guy. The kid needs to pick a hobby and stick with it.

Kudos to the fans who braved the cold and made the trip to College Station. Just sitting there and watching the game and halftime show must be cold when you are not moving. Got to love the cold though, and it’s about time!

There were some missed Letney aerials by receivers. People within earshot were blaming it on the cold. How long have you been playing football? Screw the elements and catch the ball! There was a receiver here some years back that was like a vacuum in all kinds of weather. Blake Cyr made no excuses because he didn’t have to. Catch the ball for gosh sakes! You have gloves on nowadays that are better than “stickum” used to be when it was legal. Google “Lester Hayes Stickum” if I am dating myself.  [Editor’s note: no need – he is dating himself]

It was good to see another dance group that is on a level with the Liberty Belles. I didn’t catch their name but I’m thinking Tigerettes?

Another great job by The Oak Ridge marching band, color guard, Liberty Belles, trainers and cheerleaders! The cold means nothing to these people. Try playing a trumpet with your lips sticking to the instrument. Ever seen “The Christmas Story” when the kid puts his tongue on the metal basketball pole? That’s not fiction.

Oak Ridge next plays Saturday at 2pm at Woodforest against Lufkin. Oak Ridge must beat Lufkin and The Woodlands if they are to have any chance for the postseason. That all being said – this I know for sure – this Oak Ridge football team will be ready to play. They always are!

See you on Tuesday night at Caney Creek high school for the girls VB playoff opener. The only way you won’t be at the football game next Saturday is because you are out of town watching the Oak Ridge Cross Country team at Regionals that day. That will be your only excuse!

Incidentally, Muehlstein’s Oak Ridge XC team is the first ORHS 5A XC team to make it to Regional’s. The man is finally catching up with Murray!

Oak Ridge rules!

Comments to Doug Sarant at Doug@oakridgenow.com.

If you didn’t make the trip to College Station Friday night, here are a few photos of what went on. 

 A&M Consolidated 28, Oak Ridge 7 – Final
 Oak Ridge Overall: 1-7 District: 1-3
College Station A&M Consolidated Overall: 7-2 District: 4-1

 

BOXSCORE
Friday October 26, 2012 7:30pm

1

2

3

4

Total

Oak Ridge

0

0

0

7

7

College Station A&M Consolidated

0

7

14

7

28

 

Scoring summary

 

AMC — Xavier Jones 1-yard run (Dillon Moore kick), 2nd.
AMC — Xavier Jones 1-yard run (Dillon Moore kick), 3rd.
AMC — Josch Motley 20-yard pass from Kobe Miller (Dillon Moore kick), 3rd.
AMC — Daniel Hulse 19-yard pass from Kobe Miller (Dillon Moore kick), 4th.
OKR — Colby Kitterman 25-yard pass from Braden Letney (Patrick Coale kick), 4th.

 

Team Stats

Conroe Oak Ridge

College Station A&M Consolidated

Total yards

171

310

First downs

9

14

Rushes/Yds

34/78

29/112

Average rush

2.29

3.86

Comp/Atts

9/21/0

14/23/0

Pass yards

93

198

Comp pct

42.86

60.87

Punts

6

3

Punting Yards

174

105

Punting Average

29

35

Fumbles/Lost

1/1

4/1

Penalties-yards

4-24

7-40

 

Passing
Name

Comp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

INT

Weston Garner

9

14

64.29

117

0

0

Tyler Spaw

0

1

0

0

0

0

Derrick Dick

0

1

0

0

0

0

Kobe Miller

5

7

71.43

81

2

0

 

Rushing
Name

Att

Yds

Yds/Att

Long

TD

Weston Garner

2

-8

-4

0

0

Xavier Jones

11

39

3.5

0

2

Kerry Thomas

1

1

1

0

0

Derrick Dick

2

16

8

0

0

Brandon Jackson

4

28

7

0

0

Josch Motley

1

11

11

0

0

Safavian Terrell

2

12

6

0

0

Kobe Miller

6

13

2.2

0

0

 

Receiving
Name

Rec

Yds

Yds/Catch

Long

TD

Josh Stewart

1

0

0

0

0

Xavier Jones

1

31

31

0

0

Kerry Thomas

1

20

20

0

0

Daniel Hulse

4

39

9.8

0

1

Derrick Dick

3

43

14.3

0

0

Josch Motley

3

57

19

0

1

Justin Miller

1

8

8

0

0

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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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