No. 3 – Oak Hill vs. Marshall Academy

By: 
WILL NATIONS
Sports Reporter

Daily Times Leader continues its Top 5 Countdown of the Oak Hill Raiders' 2014 football season. The Raiders made their third consecutive postseason berth, finishing the year with a 5-6 overall record. Oak Hill is under the direction of first-year Head Coach Chris Craven, who has been an eight-year assistant coach for the program. Oak Hill opens the season against defending MAIS Class-A champion Newton County Academy on Friday, Aug. 21 at Oak Hill Academy in West Point.

No. 3: Today's game in the countdown highlights Oak Hill's 49-36 loss at the hands of the Marshall Academy Patriots on Friday, Aug. 29 at Oak Hill Academy in West Point.

THE FACTS: Marshall Academy rushed for 454 yards to down the Oak Hill Raiders, 49-35, in a MAIS non-district game Friday, Aug. 29 at Oak Hill Academy in West Point. Marshall fell behind the Raiders after Riley Pierce’s 22-yard connection with Heath Ford in the third quarter, 21-19. The Patriots answered with their first offensive play of the next series – a 63-yard Jordon Harris touchdown run. Dakota Dailey added his third rushing touchdown with 55 second left in the third as the Patriots led Oak Hill at the beginning of the fourth, 34-21. Marshall scored on its first two possessions of the final quarter and never relinquished the lead.

THE STATS: Riley Pierce led the offense with 240 yards passing and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). Rising senior wide receiver Kaleb Darnell had an 80-yard touchdown reception. Rising junior and Oak Hill's projected starting quarterback Ken Dill returned a missed field goal 96 yards for a touchdown before halftime, cutting Marshall's 12-point lead to 19-14.
Devin McGreger led the Patriot rushing attack with 209 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Dakota Dailey added 165 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Dailey added 161 yards through the air. Jordon Harris also added some pop with 80 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

WHAT THEY SAID: Former Oak Hill Head Football Coach Tony Stanford on the game: “We couldn’t stop them. That’s the key to it. We had poor tackling, and we couldn’t hold McGreger and Dailey. If they wanted to run the football; they ran it. We have to tackle better to be a good football team.”

Stanford on Pierce's performance: “He’s been starting for a while now, and he is the leader of the ball club. He threw the ball well, and we made big plays with the passing game. He moved in the pocket well and found open receiver.”

Marshall Head Football Coach Sam Pearson on Dakota Dailey: “He’s the high school version of Johnny Manziel. If somebody needs to make the big play, he wants the ball in his hand. I dial a play into the huddle for him, and he is thinking he is going to make a big play for his team. He’s a playmaker.”

WHY THIS GAME: I have covered this meeting two seasons in a row, and I will probably cover it again this season. Though geographically spaced out, Oak Hill and Marshall has turned into a rivalry. Though some of the stars have graduated such as Marshall's Dakota Daily and Oak Hill Drake Riley, some new stars will rise up to the occasion for this contest.
These teams match up well, and the Raiders have been hungry for a win against the Holly Spring academy since 2009. 2013's meeting was an overtime thriller. 2014's game was a shoot-out. Hopefully this season, Oak Hill and Marshall will present another special one for everybody to enjoy.

THE NEXT MEETING: Oak Hill and Marshall square off in the fifth week of the regular season on Friday, Sept. 18 in Holly Springs. The Patriots have a four-game winning streak over the Raiders, dating back to 2009.

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