Cardiac Kids Pull Out Another Big Win Against College Park, 21-14

Karley Godfrey and Josh Myers were chosen as the 2013 Oak Ridge High School homecoming queen and king. Photo courtesy of Chuck Briese

Karley Godfrey and Josh Myers were crowned as the 2013 Oak Ridge High School homecoming queen and king at halftime.

Dereck Rush and his Oak Ridge War Eagles rose from the dead once again as they scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to take down College Park (3-2, 0-1) in cardiac fashion Friday night at Woodforest Bank Stadium.

Oak Ridge (6-0, 2-0) forced five turnovers on the night and overcame two of their own with Ben Acker recovering two of the Cavalier loose balls, creating momentum swings at crucial stages of the game. College Park outgained the War Eagles in total yards 290 to 272 but the five turnovers sealed their fate.

The first half was all College Park as their defense stymied the War Eagles, keeping the Oak Ridge defensive unit on the field for the majority of the 24 minutes. The Oak Ridge D did yeoman’s work but the Cavs made the War Eagles pay with two late second quarter TD’s. Jayden Holden caught an eight yard scoring aerial from QB Colton Farmer with 2:25 left in the half and Chance Givens hauled in a Farmer 26 yard scoring strike with just 15 seconds left to make it 14-0 College Park at intermission.

The teams toughed out a non scoring third quarter but Oak Ridge was driving late and as they changed ends, the War Eagles were on the Cavalier three yard line deciding whether to kick a field goal or go for the TD on 4th and goal. Rush, showing confidence in his team, and in particular Jacob Norton, went for it and on the first play in the fourth quarter, Norton executed a perfect mis-direction play and found Demarcus Durst all by his lonesome, putting the War Eagles on the board. Patrick Coale’s kick was good and Oak Ridge was in business down just one touchdown with only four seconds gone in the final quarter.

Oak Ridge QB Braden Letney made quick use of another College Park turnover and a minute and a half later he handed off to Kwame Etwi who, knifing through the Cavalier line, scored on a three yard TD. Coale’s kick failed and Oak Ridge trailed 14-13 with just over five minutes to play.

On College Park’s next possession Oak Ridge forced yet another fumble and the War Eagles were on the Cavalier 21 yard line. Shortly thereafter Letney kept the ball and ran around left end to score on a 14 yard scamper. Coach Rush opted for the two point conversion to make up for the failed XP on their previous series. Oak Ridge made good as Letney hit Etwi and Oak Ridge was up for the first time, 21-14 with under five minutes left in the game.

College Park then took possession but could not get anywhere and elected to punt with 3:01 remaining, leaving their fate to the defensive unit to get the O the ball back. The Cavalier defense did their job and with 1:13 left got the ball back at their own 46 yard line with no time outs. On the first play, Farmer went back to pass and with no one open and War Eagle linemen in pursuit, he ran for his life and ended up on the 31 yard line. Oak Ridge was flagged on the next play and College Park had even better field position on the 21 yard line. Farmer then aired one out to the back right corner of the end zone but Tyler Marcel, who made a huge last-second  play in the Bryan game the week before, was Johnny on the spot again and broke up the pass headed for the Cavalier tight end..

The next play saw Farmer drop back to pass again and Oak Ridge was called for roughing the passer, giving College Park even better field position on the 10 yard line. Things were going the Cavs’ way but then Farmer threw a spiral to a perceptive War Eagle defensive back Clayton Grett, who nearly ran the ball back for a TD, sealing the game.

After the game, Grett detailed the INT. “I looked at his (Farmer) eyes, the ball was a little high and I jumped for it, caught it and ran. “We haven’t been 6-0 in any of our school lives, junior high or high school – this means the world.”

Rush was elated after the game. ““It feels great – the biggest thing is it’s a district win. We set goals in November of last year in striving to win a district championship and we don’t look at the records. We take it step by step, day by day, practice by practice and get better,” Rush continued. “We’ve been talking to our defense this week about fighting through adversity and that defense wins championships. We made plays when we had to make plays.”

Letney and Norton combined for 58 yards passing while Jamarquis Durst had 32 yards receiving. Justin Edwards took team rushing bragging rights with 65 yards. Etwi was held in check by College Park to the tune of 15 carries for 52 yards.

College Park’s Colton Farmer was 9-20 with one INT and 120 yards through the air. He rushed for 33 yards and Philip Achee ran for 83 yards.

Oak Ridge has a bye week coming up and then four weeks of games in a row against, Conroe, A&M Consolidated, Lufkin, and The Woodlands, in order.

WORTHY OF NOTE:

The Oak Ridge War Eagles are 6-0 overall and 2-0 in District 14-5A. Oh, you are having trouble comprehending that? Here it is again… The Oak Ridge War Eagles are 6-0 overall and 2-0 in District 14-5A. You got it now? No need to go into how long it’s been since Oak Ridge football was 6-0 to start out a season. We’re talking 5A football now… Enough said!

Ben Acker: This kid recovered two fumbles. It’s not like the pigskin just magically appeared before Acker and he pounced on them. No way. With maximum effort and God given strength he came up with those fumbles because he is an absolute balls to the walls high school football player. It could be debated what certain points during a game were the major turning points because every Oak Ridge kid had a hand in this victory as it was truly a team win. However, Oak Ridge won that football game partly because Ben Acker was on the football field.

Clayton Grett=M-O-N-E-Y. This senior linebacker makes play after play and he’s born leader. Sound bite in the first half when Oak Ridge had not solved CP yet. Grett walked up to a bunch of War Eagles on the back bench who were being real quiet… “You all being quiet is not gonna work here!” He is constantly UP and making sure all around him are in the game mentally. It’s huge for a team when guys like Grett are on it.

I finally saw Coach Rush almost lose his temper with an official. The Linesman is in charge of yardage gained or lost. He is also supposed to be aware of the coach on his side of the field if the coach is calling for a time-out. At a crucial part of the game, Rush had to do a windsprint and almost get in the the Linesman’s face to get his time-out. This guy was completely wrong and Rush had cause to be upset and he voiced his displeasure to the other officials and they understood completely. When things settled down, you could tell the other officials were telling the Linesman in not so many words that he can’t have tunnel vision. Rush went back before the time out was over and apologized and all was hunky dory again. BTW, because of the Oak Ridge student section doing a great job all night long, the zebra couldn’t hear squat but his head should still be on a swivel anyway.

More on Rush: Speaking of head on a swivel… after a mix up in the backfield, Oak Ridge fumbled deep in CP territory and the Cavaliers recovered. I was looking at Rush and he went right from his offensive coach to standing next to his defensive coach and ready to roll again. He’s like “What’s next?” and doesn’t have time to dwell on the fumble… that’s a good thing.

This just in… Nick Lauterbach can play. He is all over the place as a center fielder should be. If he’s not breaking up long pass plays, he’s in on just about every tackle. If you want to teach your son how to play safety, just tell him to watch Lauterbach and he’ll have a gigantic head start on the learning process.

The War Eagles are winning in cardiac fashion because they put it all together in the latter stages of the game. Give credit to College Park Coach Carson for coaching an awesome game but feel good about how Oak Ridge is playing good late in games. Ideally, you want to play great all game long but what team ever does that? These kids are in massive shape and can go all night long. The War Eagles were down 14-0 to start the fourth quarter and not one time did these kids think they were going to lose. Here they are 6-0 and have not put together a complete game but continue to improve as they go. With the three best teams in the district coming up, this team is on the right road.

Don’t get too cocky: Oak Ridge is in the top ten in some local polls for the Houston area. It’s great to be recognized and the team just may be that good. Here’s some humble pie… Carl Padilla of the Padilla Poll has a statewide high school poll and he was at the game tonight. He has a complex system that rates all teams in the state. At the start of the season, Oak Ridge was 180th in Texas. Before the College Park game, 70th and moving up. More than likely the Ridge will move up a few spots but we are still talking 60th at best. If you want to read how good you think you are, go ahead and read local press clippings. If you want reality, check out the Padilla Poll and you’ll never get overconfident. Go with the Padilla Poll and keep yourselves honest.

Justin Edwards: I told you he’s like DJ Dozier in that he goes through people and probably has a pretty good 40 time. He showed off some speed on that long run early in the game. Unfortunately, he got stripped and a turnover occurred. College Park has always been very good at stripping the ball, too. I know Carson sets aside a whole practice segment on it. No worries, Justin. If you’re gonna get stripped, at least it was by a team that excels at it.

Kicking game: It’s always good if you have Patrick Coale on your team. You had to like the 63 yard punt he coffin cornered making the Cavaliers start out on their one yard line. Yeah, he hit the left upright in the fourth quarter that would have tied things up at 14, but rarely is it just the kickers fault. They’ll be putting in some extra time with the field goal/XP unit at practice. Here’s a challenge for Coale: I’m challenging you to a duel. Start from 20 yards and go back five yards every time. You can only miss once from each distance. If you beat me, I take you, the holder and the offensive line (O-Line on field goal unit) to an all you can eat Chinese joint. Oh, almost forgot… nice pooch kicks. You’ve got that down real good.

It was Homecoming and, as usual, fun was had by all…

Gambling: On a 3rd and 6 and with possession of the ball in the second half, the Oak Ridge offense needed a big play. I walked over to my Yearbook friend again and told her I’d give her another hundred dollars if the War Eagles got the first down. Sure enough, Letney kept the ball and ran left and several yards later had a huge first down and I was out another C note. I don’t care because I think I’m backwards lucky. This Yearbook friend will have plenty of college spending money if I continue to be unsuccessful in my betting.

Keisha Davis is our Oak Ridge Now Athletic Trainer of the Week. They all deserve personal recognition because if you watched these people you’d get dizzy because they move so fast. When you have about 80 guys that you are in charge of, that’s a lot of responsibility. Thank you, Keisha!!!

Halftime: Ya know, just once I want to go to a high school football game and NOT hear over the loud speaker how so and so high school band is an award winning band. Do you notice that every band that ever comes in here is an award winning band? I’m not talking about College Park’s or ours because these bands are awesome but during a season you’ll see a couple that could not be award winning. I’m assuming some of these bands drove around one day and picked a cul-de-sac to set up shop. When finished with their routine, they were given a thumbs up by three groups of families… and now they claim to be award winning.

CP Band: College Park’s halftime show was titled, “Give Us This Day” which included Amazing Grace and other awesome songs. It’s so cool that this band is not concerned with being politically incorrect. AND… this was a school event. I felt like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Cavailer Band, you keep on rockin!!

Ridge Rowdies, Band, Color Guard, Liberty Belles and Babes (Junior high Belles), frosh, JV and V cheer, Honor Guard, crew, etc… were all repped for Homecoming. Every one does a great job repping the school.

In speaking with Rush after the game, I asked him if it was by design that the Homecoming halftime festivities were shorter than usual. He said the band director and he decided that the band would play before the game on the field. The band has a big competition coming up and Rush wanted to make sure the band was prepared. If two bands played at halftime the length of intermission would have been almost over an hour. Good call by the Coach and Band leader. Compare a long halftime to the Super Bowl. Those are almost an hour. I don’t know about you but with the kind of Super Bowl parties I attend, the game is over at halftime because… well… well you lose interest for some reason. No one lost interest Friday night!

Ridge rules!

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

If you weren’t able to make Friday night’s game, here are some photos that capture the festivities. These are courtesy of Jim Eastin and Chuck Briese. The good ones, as usual, are by Mr. Eastin.

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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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