Oakridge stays undefeated, moves closer to outright WM Conference football title

By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

SHELBY – A quarterback sneak may go down as one of the bigger plays of the season for the Oakridge Eagles.

Needing a foot for a first down at its own 32, Oakridge coach Cary Harger called for the sneak.

Instead of getting a foot, the Eagles got a 68-yard touchdown run from quarterback Austin Wright with less than 2 minutes remaining to clinch a 20-9 victory over the host Shelby Tigers.

“With a quarterback sneak, you go up the middle, stay low, push and bulldoze,” Harger said.

It didn’t quite happen that way.

Wright pushed into the line, nothing happened. He pushed a second time, not much there.

“James (Abriatis) pulled me out and pushed me,” said Wright, who broke out of the large pile of humanity at the 32-yard line and outran two Tiger defenders to the end zone.

The outcome keeps the Eagles undefeated at 7-0 and ensures them at least a share of the conference title. Montague is one game back and Shelby is now two.

Other than a couple of big plays, the Tigers’ defense was able to slow down the Eagles’ potent offense.

In fact, it was the Tigers that took a 2-0 lead when an Eagle snap on a punt sailed out of the end zone for a safety.

Oakridge was able to gain the lead, but it wasn’t until the final seconds of the first half. A 13-play drive that featured eight rushes by Dan Shoop gave the Eagles the lead with 16 seconds left in the half. Shoop scored on a 5-yards run and Beka Shepherd added the extra point.

After a scoreless third quarter, the teams dug in for a final quarter that several big plays from each team.

Dom Greenawalt halted a Tiger drive by picking off a Spencer Peters’ pass. Shelby’s next drive also ended on an interception, this time by Derek Masterman. Oakridge had two other interceptions by Kaleb Cook and Greenawalt.

The Eagles didn’t need much time to take a 14-2 lead. Two plays into a the drive, Shoop broke free on a 65-yard touchdown run and Shepherd added the extra point.

Shelby took the ensuing kickoff and mounted an impressive drive that started with a solid kickoff return by David Guerra.

Peters found Brody Lee for 18 yards, then hit Nathan Lentz for 28 yards that took the Tigers to the Eagle 2. Two plays later, Peters found Devin Mussell in the end zone for a touchdown. Andy Fortier added the extra point and it was 14-9.

Oakridge took possession with 3:43 remaining, but had trouble moving the ball.

On fourth and a foot with 2:35 remaining, the Eagles tried to draw the Tigers offside for an automatic first down. The Tigers held their ground.

Then came the play that would determine the final outcome.

“I thought he had it with his initial momentum and then he took off,” Harger said.

Oakridge finished the game with 307 yards rushing, led by Shoop with 22 carries for 146 yards and Wright with 99 yards on eight carries. The leading tackler was Masterman with 10. Cook and Branden Jasso had eight each.

Lentz led the Tigers with 10 rushes for 45 yards. Peters completed 10-of-25 passes for 162 yards, but was picked off four times. Lee had four catches for 88 yards. Defensively, Ben Schroeder had 13 and Austin Porter had eight.

“These guys keep coming at you with the same stuff, but you can’t blink,” Shelby coach Lorenzo Rodriguez said. “We tried to attack them through the air and when you make a mistake, they will take advantage of it.

“They pound at you and pound at you.”

Shelby is 5-2 and in need of one victory in its last two games to qualify for the playoffs.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *