Raiders knock off Winona Christian 14-0

Collin Brister
Sports Writer

Winona Christian was able to get the ball inside Oak Hill’s red zone four times in the first half of play on Friday night.
Oak Hill kept them off the scoreboard every time, and came away with a 14-0 win to start the district season off with a 1-0 record.
Winona Christian was able to put together a plethora of fourth down stops in the red zone and get the ball back for their offense.
The Raiders offense struggled on the first few drives to get anything going, but on the fourth drive they were set up with excellent field position after cornerback Dylan Scott intercepted a Stars pass in the end zone and raced it back to the Winona Christian 34.
Three plays later, Oak Hill junior quarterback John Carver Middleton hit wide receiver Daniel Harrington for a 40-yard touchdown, and after a Grayson Easterling extra point, the Raiders took a 7-0 lead late in the second quarter.
“Our defense has just stepped up and made plays,” Oak Hill head football coach Chris Craven said. “We’ve played well on that side of the football this year.”
Oak Hill’s defense continued to bend, but not break throughout the rest of the first half. Winona Christian took the last possession of the half to the Raider 19-yard line, but were turned away when the pass was batted down as time expired.
Oak Hill took the opening kick-off of the second half back for a touchdown, and after Easterling knocked home another extra point, the Raiders had a 14-0 lead.
That was all they would need, as the defense continued to dominate the Stars for the duration of the contest. Oak Hill forced two second half turnovers, and their offense played an efficient style of ball-control offense, keeping the ball away from Winona Christian.
Oak Hill grinded out the game on the ground on the last drive of the game as junior running back Ethan Bryan rushed for three first-downs on the drive, and kept the drive and the game clock moving.
“Ethan is a junior, and we’re proud of that and that he’ll be back,” Craven said. “We put the game on the back of our fullbacks, and they came through for us at the end of the game.”
The win allotted the Raiders a fast start to district play, and Craven said it is essential to start the district slate off 1-0.
“The only way that you’re guaranteed to be in the playoffs is that you win your district,” Craven said. “We’re pursuing that. We want to be in the playoffs this season.”