MINFORD — The Mighty Minford Falcons and the Oak Hill Oaks went to battle Friday night in yet another nail-bitter, which ended when the Falcons defeated the Oaks 16-14.
In what has become the norm for the Falcons and the Oaks, Friday’s game was a punishing display of physicality and guts that gave both teams an opportunity to finish the night victorious.
“It was game just like we’d thought it would be, close ball game with both sides fighting,” Minford coach Jesse Ruby said on the field shortly after Minford’s two-point win over Oak Hill.
The game came down to two final possessions, one for each team.
Leading 9-8 since halftime, the Falcons took a 16-8 lead with only 0:38 remaining in the game after Landon Caudill rushed into the endzone for six yards, electrifying the home fans.
However, the Oaks were determined to attempt to force the game into overtime. On the kickoff from Minford, Zach Fisher put the Oaks in excellent condition to score and possibly tie the game when he returned the kickoff to the Minford 19 yard line.
From there Oak Hill quarterback Caleb Johnson connected to Wes Mullett for 10 yards putting the Oaks on the Minford nine yard line, also giving Oak Hill a first down.
Johnson connected with Mullett again on the very next play for a nine-yard score to pull the Oaks to within two points of the Falcons, 16-14.
Oak Hill set up for a two-point conversion with Johnson under center. He dropped back and found Jaymen Travis open for what appeared to be a successful two-point conversion. However, a lone flag was laying just beyond the right hash mark where an official called an ineligible receiver penalty on the Oaks, negating their conversion.
The Oaks lined up for an onside kick in an attempt to recover the ball and then score for the win. The onside strategy worked for the Oaks as they recovered the ball after it hit a Falcon.
With 0:13 left in the game, Oak Hill held the ball on their own 49 yard line. After an incomplete pass the Oaks faced a second down and needing 51 yards to score.
Johnson dropped back and launched the football deep into Minford territory. As the ball sailed through the air, Minford’s Breydan Tilley jumped up and grabbed the ball intercepting the pass and sealing Minford’s victory over Oak Hill, 16-14.
“We had some difficult issues, stopping their inside run at times, but we took advantage of some of the things we could do outside,” Ruby said. “It was another Oak Hill, Minford ball game, a good rivalry. It came down to the last possession as always it seems like. It was just good to see our kids fight for the win.”
With the win, Ruby earns his first win as the head coach for the Falcons and on the young 2016 season.
“I feel great,” Ruby replied when asked about his first varsity win. “It’s a good feeling you know. You work so hard to get to this level and to this point and to see your kids fight and play as hard as they did in this game, It’s good.”
While Ruby was feeling great on getting his first win, he was more so impressed and proud of the never-give-up attitude of his players.
“Our kids bounced back,” Ruby said. “The onside kick they (Oak Hill) got it and then our defense came out and held. We got a pick to end the game, so it was really good to see our kids step up.”
After defeating the Oaks 16-14, Minford will resume play Friday, September 9, 2016 again at home, when they host Paint Valley. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Minford High School.
OH — Johnson 7-yd run 10:06 (2-pt good Clutters run)
Minford — 43-yd FG by Gampp 4:31
Minford — Compton pass from McCormick for 58 yds 0:00 (PAT failed)
Minford — Caudill 6-yd run 0:38 (PAT good)
OH — Mullett pass from Johnson for 9 yds 0:18 (2-pt conversion failed)
Minford’s Tyler Compton (30) looks to move the ball against Oak Hill, during their game Friday night.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext. 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.