By Bryan Davis
The Oak Hill Academy Raiders (2-5; 1-0) had three turnovers in Friday night’s non-league home game against the Raiders of Lamar (4-2), but those mistakes did not factor much in what would eventually be a 56-14 beating of Oak Hill.
Lamar was already up 28-0 when Conner Baird’s second quarter pass was tipped and intercepted for the home Raiders’ first give away of the game. Oak Hill’s mistakes centered around their tackling game.
Finishing tackles was an issue in last week’s game against Carroll, but Oak Hill was able to overcome the errors. This week, their inability to wrap their opponents up caught up with them, and it caught up with them early.
“It was tackling again,” said Oak Hill head coach Leroy Gregg. “We did a poor job of tackling. We did not get kids in position to make plays. I’ll have to look at the film to see what happened there, defensively.”
Gregg said that the players got to their man, but did not finish the job.
“Our kids hit hard, but we’re not wrapping those guys up and taking them to the floor,” Gregg said.
Coming back off an ankle injury, Reid Posey launched the opening kickoff to Lamar. It took the visiting Raiders five plays and 2:03 to move the ball from their own 41 to the end zone.
Lamar quarterback Tyler Hinson came out throwing strikes, and he and his running backs took the ball in from five yards to take a 6-0 lead. John Roberts tacked on the extra point to make it 7-0.
The Oak Hill bunch would go three and out on their first possession, giving it back to Lamar on a 34 yard punt by Posey.
It only took four plays and 70 yards this time for Lamar to get back on the board, scoring a 15-yard touchdown on a pass by Hinson to make it 14-0 with 6:54 to go in the first quarter.
Oak Hill’s second drive was more productive than the first, but it did not result in a score. Facing fourth and 13 and mid-field, Posey faked the punt and threw a nine-yard pass to Bo Sanford, but it was not enough for the first down.
Lamar put together yet another effective drive, pounding out six plays, finished with a 20-yard touchdown run by Dalton McHenry to make it 21-0.
With 1:18 on the clock, Oak Hill got the ball back, but in that short time, all the home Raiders could do was go three and out, as they got set to punt to lead off the second quarter.
When the Raiders were trying desperately to hold on to their slim lead against Carroll last week, it seemed like time was standing still. Struggling to get back in this week’s game, three touchdowns in the hole, it seemed as if the seconds on the clock were running too fast.
The second quarter began much like the first did. A kick from Posey, this time in the form of a 40 yard punt, put Lamar back in business on first down.
A quick, four-play drive, would result in another touchdown for the visiting Raiders, making it 28-0, with 10:56 to go in the half.
Oak Hill’s next drive was cut short, as Baird’s pass to Sanford was tipped in the air and picked off at the Lamar 35.
A long run to the end zone was negated by an illegal block by Lamar, but the leading Raiders would slowly make their way back to the goal line five plays later to take a 35-0 lead.
Oak Hill’s next possession ended like so many had earlier. Three plays were followed by a 38-yard punt by Posey.
Lamar had four consecutive first downs, followed by a second down play, only to get another first down, before a four-yard touchdown run got the Raiders into the end zone for a 42-0 lead with 3:03 to play in the half.
The very next play of the game proved to be a shinning light for Oak Hill. It was the start of something very positive they could take into the second half.
Roberts’ kickoff to Sanford was fielded at the Oak Hill 19 yard line. Sanford ran straight up the gut, eluded a tackler at mid-field and raced all the way to the end zone for an 81-yard touchdown run. Posey’s extra point made it 42-7.
The Oak Hill team was not done, as 2:45 remained on the ticker.
Lamar was driving deep in their own territory, and on a first and 20, Chance Livingston reached up and intercepted a pass, taking it back to the nine yard line of Lamar.
The following play, Baird threw a strike to Sanford for the nine-yard touchdown catch, making it 42-14, after Posey tacked on the point after.
Oak Hill’s brief moment of excitement was somewhat taken away on the sixth play of Lamar’s final first-half drive. It was a 21-yard touchdown pass by Hinson with 12 seconds left, making it 49-14 going into the locker room.
The second play of the second half proved to cause Oak Hill’s second turnover of the night, as running back Doss Miller put the ball on the ground on a running play. It was recovered by Lamar.
Lamar drove the ball to the Oak Hill 25, where they would eventually attempt a 35-yard field goal, but it was not good.
Oak Hill got the ball back, but for the second straight possession, the ball was fumbled and recovered by Lamar. This time, the visitors made Oak Hill pay, driving six plays for seven points, with 4:34 left in the third.
Oak Hill would fail to score in the third quarter, and that would be all of the scoring for Lamar on the night, as the visiting team took a knee on fourth down, at their own seven yard line with 2:20 to go in the game.
It only took the Raiders one play to make their final score, and this was a 93-yard touchdown run by Sanford to make it 56-21.
Sanford accounted for most of the scoring for Oak Hill, finishing the game with 93 kickoff return yards and 104 yards on the ground. He also had nine yards receiving, and he scored all three touchdowns for Oak Hill.
Next week, Oak Hill will face Manchester, a conference battle that could land the Raiders in the playoffs with a victory.