By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
RAVENNA – You could look at Oakridge’s 41-7 victory over the Ravenna Bulldogs and start heaping all the praise on the Eagle’s offense.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but you also must consider the fact the stingy Eagle defense has allowed 20 points in five games this season. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out they are allowing a miniscule four points per game.
It wasn’t until Coach Harger went to his bench players that the Bulldogs were able to push the ball across the goal line in the final minutes of the game.
“Our defense played outstanding,” Harger said. “Defensive coordinator Tim Parker did a great job scheming. He spends hours on the weekend look at video and breaking them down.”
How good were the Eagles on the defensive side of the ball?
Ravenna did not get a first down until less than 3 minutes remained in the third quarter. By that time, the Eagles’ offense and special team had amassed a 35-0 lead and it was a running clock.
Junior Dan Shoop was the Eagles’ leader on offense. He rushed 20 times for 136 yards and three touchdowns. His scoring runs came from 1, 19 and 11 yards. He also had an interception on defense.
“We came out slow and we knew what we had to do,” Shoop said. “We adjusted and got the job done.”
The early going was a battle in the trenches and that led to a scoreless first quarter.
An Eagle drive that began in the first quarter ended in the second when Shoop scored from a yard out. Beka Shepherd added her first of three extra points on the night.
Oakridge scored again with 45 seconds left in the second quarter to make it 14-0 at the half. A six-play drive culminated on a 23-yard pass from Austin Wright to Mike Eacker.
“You can’t ask a little defense like our to shut a team like that all night,” Ravenna coach David Smith said. “And we need to get it going on offense.
The third quarter was a rough one for the host Bulldogs as the Eagles scored four times. Shoop scored from 19 yards out, Francis Decker returned a punt 70 yards, Shoop scored from 11 yards out and James Abriatis showed some breakaway speed on a 79-yard gallop for a touchdown with 2 seconds left in the quarter.
Ravenna did get on the board with 3:27 remaining on a 2-yard touchdown run by sophomore Gabe Zimmer.
The outcome came as a relief to Harger, whose team stung a year ago by the Bulldogs.
“Being a rivalry game, it’s just that every year you throw out the records,” said Harger, whose team is 5-0. “Last year it was the same situation and they took it to us.
“We wanted to redeem ourselves,” Harger said.