A safety midway through the final quarter was the difference on Thursday night as the Oakridge Eagles pulled out a 22-21 nail biter over Sparta on the opening night of the high school football season.

Ethan Jozsa’s clutch defensive play with 6:09 remaining in the game turned a one-point deficit into a one-point lead and a victory for the Eagles.

Corey Vanderputte led the Eagles with 27 carries for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He scored on runs of 2 and 27 yards. He also had one reception for 19 yards.

Brendan Raymond scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to account for the Eagles’ other touchdown. Raymond finished with 14 carries for 52 yards.

Quarterback Matt Danicek completed 4-of-6 passes for 31 yards and rushed eight times for 55 yards.

After a scoreless first quarter, the host Spartans got on the board on a 21-yard pass from Nic Gordon to Jamari Everette.

Oakridge responded with Raymond’s TD run, but  Spartan regained the lead on a 22-yard by Dylan Turoski. Vanderputte scored from 2 yards out, but again, Sparta responded and took a 21-14 lead into halftime.

The Eagle defense kept the Spartans scoreless in the final half.

Hayden Gillette had six tackles while Trevor Jones, Jozsa and Danicek had five each.