Football: Oxford recovers from mistakes to outlast Octorara

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Oxford's defense stood tall with a goal-line stand to preserve the win Friday night. (Candice Monhollan)

Oxford’s defense stood tall with a goal-line stand to preserve the win Friday night. (Candice Monhollan)

ATGLEN — Octorara High School, still looking for its first win of the season, made a mistake with 2:37 left in the game which arguably cost them the chance at that elusive ‘ W’ Friday night.

On a fouth-and-1 at their own 29 and up by a touchdown, the Braves just needed to get the first down and try to run out the clock. Instead, a sack forced a fumble from quarterback Alex Gooden at the 19 and was picked up by Oxford senior Devon Sumner, who ran into the end zone to tie the game and send it to overtime where Oxford would win the Ches-Mont League American Division contest, 41-34, and improve to 5-0.

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“I do think we looked past Octorara a little bit,’ said Oxford head coach Mike Pietlock. “You can warn and you can warn and you can warn and maybe this is a lesson. I said at halftime achieving prosperity isn’t that hard, handling it is the hard part and I think we learned that tonight.

“I think our defense thought they were pretty good and they played well. Thirty-four points later, hopefully their pride is a little damaged.’

Oxford looked to breeze through the 0-5 Braves, controlling the ball for just shy of the entire first quarter and scoring a touchdown on a one-yard run from senior quarterback Ethan Herb.

However, the wheels fell off for the Hornets in the second after a muffed punt set the Braves up at Oxford’s 16-yard line. Two plays later, Gooden punched the ball into the end zone from the two.

In the Hornets’ next possession, Herb was sacked and fumbled the ball, once again setting Octorara up with decent field position. Gooden sent a bomb to senior wide receiver Terrel Thompson for a 59-yard touchdown reception.

“We weren’t ready to play,’ Pietlock said. “You can warn them all week that 0-4 means nothing, but Octorara still sees us as a team that they can show up and compete against and they did.’

Not to be outdone, Herb had a 54-yard pass to senior Cameron Williams for a touchdown and a 56-yard pass to junior Ryan Hubley for a score as well.

Hubley, who caught six passes for 135 yards with two touchdowns, was one of the best players of the night.

“He’s everything you want in a football player,’ Pietlock said. “It’s yes, no. It’s time to go lift Ryan, ‘ Alright, I’ll go lift.’ It’s time to run hard, he runs hard. Any success he has, he deserves just because of the kind of kid he is and the kind of worker that he is.’

Though Oxford’s defense struggled at times in the game, it came up big in overtime to prevent Octorara from scoring.

Facing a third-and-goal from the 4, the defense stuffed the run attempt from junior Corey Cooper. The next play, Tyler Combs sealed the win with an interception at the goal line to ruin Octorara’s homecoming.

Something which had Pietlock concerned in the game was the undisciplined play from his team.

The Hornets committed 13 penalties for a whopping total of 100 yards.”We were not very disciplined tonight and that was disappointing,’ Pietlock said. “That was obviously the most penalties we’ve had all year. I’m sure if you add up the first four games and take the penalties we’ve gotten tonight, I’m sure we had more tonight than we had in the first four.’

Regardless of the fact, Oxford celebrated over the continuance of its undefeated season.

“This is uncharted territory for me as well {as the kids),’ Pietlock said. “We’re all trying to keep a level head here. Being 5-0 makes the hours, makes being away from the wife and kids, fun. It’s fun to go to work and it’s fun to be out here.’

Oxford now looks ahead to a date with the also undefeated West Chester Rustin next week.

“We haven’t made it out of the first quarter alive against Rustin the last two years,” Pietlock said. “We can’t make the game bigger than it is. We’ve got to put our mind that we’ve got to get to six [wins]. There’s no looking past Rustin.”

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Categories: Football, High School Sports, Sports

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