The weather was unforgiving during week two of the season, but the Minford Falcons and the Oak Hill Oaks weathered the weather in what was perhaps one of their tightest matchups of the year.
The rain was pouring just as the enthusiasm was pouring from the cheers of both crowds, with both sides knowing that this was to be a tough game and both teams were here to give it their all regardless of the weather.
With Minford returning from a clutch victory over Rock Hill and Oak Hill falling to Chesapeake during week one, tensions were high and the mold from the starting week was broken as everyone knew that this was going to be down to the wire.
For Minford, senior Breydan Tilley was one to lead the Falcons’ charge as the wide receiver, making sure to lead as an example for the younger players as coach Jesse Ruby intended. On Oak Hill’s side, there was Caleb Johnson as quarterback, and Bayley Clutters as fullback. Head coach Nathan Dugan of Oak Hill held these players as well as his entire roster in high regards with certainty that they would play a good game; which was a held testament as the night went on.
Both Minford and Oak Hill failed to give any sort of leeway to the opposition, forcing a power struggle for the majority of the first quarter.
Even though Tilley managed multiple beautiful runs, including a fantastic run to the Oak Hill 27 yard line, there was an extreme struggle for movement on both sides as the rain began to fall. On top of the struggle for movement, multiple penalties were had on Minford’s side, with at least two being called by facemasks.
In the second quarter of play, Walker Smith took matters into his own hands by collecting a five yard gain to put the Oaks in a position to score. After a personal foul was called on Minford, the Oaks’ Zach Fisher finished off the drive by collecting a one-yard touchdown run to put the Oaks out in front by a 7-0 tally.
Minford, however, wasn’t phased. After driving to the 10-yard line, the Falcons turned the ball over on downs but came right back to force an Oak Hill fumble, which was recovered by Luke Lindamood.
The resulting scoop, which put Minford at the Oak Hill seven-yard line, allowed the Falcons to score on the ensuing play as Kelton Kelley threw a successful seven yard pass to Tilley for an exciting touchdown. evening the game at 7-7. Minford then held off a furious two-minute drive by Oak Hill by stopping the Oaks at the Falcons’ 13 en route to keeping Oak Hill at bay for the remainder of the quarter.
In the third quarter of action, both teams took turns threatening to score as Minford drove down to the Oak Hill 20 before a fumble spoiled a strong drive. Oak Hill, meanwhile, drove down to the Minford 37 before its drive stalled out as the score remained at a 7-7 deadlock entering the fourth quarter of play.
As the weather worsened, each team continued to see drives stall out. Minford, in particular, was able to drive down to the Oak Hill 19 — the fourth time in the contest that Minford was able to take the football inside the Oak Hill redzone — before seeing its own drive to paydirt stall on the Oak Hill turf.
A recovered fumble — which was grabbed at the Oak Hill 15 on the very next play — wasn’t enough for Minford, as the Falcons lost five crucial yards in the porous weather conditions and fell out of field goal range as a result, which sent the contest to an overtime session.
But in that overtime period, the running abilities of Oak Hill proved to be too much to overcome, as Fisher busted through the line for a 15 yard rushing touchdown to give the Oaks a 14-7 advantage on the first possession of overtime. All Minford attempts for a rebuttal were ended when Oak Hill collected a pair of sacks that forced the Falcons to just a single yard in the overtime session.
Minford head coach Jesse Ruby and Oak Hill head coach Nathan Dugan were unavailable for comment following Friday evening’s affair.
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