Raiders win jamboree, eye improvement

Ash Cullum prepares to take a snap against Pickens Academy in Thursday night's jamboree.
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SPECIAL TO DAILY TIMES LEADER
Staff Writer

Oak Hill got solid play from a new quarterback and learned a little about mental intensity on the way to a 20-0 zipping of Pickens Academy in a fall jamboree tune-up Thursday night in Carrollton, Alabama.

“They gave great effort and really tried,” Oak Hill head coach Chris Craven said. “But sometimes you get a little hot, get a little tired, and you take a play off. We can’t have that, so we’ve got a little more running to do.”

Ash Cullum played in his first game as starting quarterback after working with the second team behind John Carver Middleton in 2017. Craven was pleased with how the senior led the team on Thursday evening.

“He worked as second team quarterback all of last year, so he already knew the offense and he does a heck of a job and he led the offense well,” Craven said.

Cullum hooked up with Collin Coggins for an eight-yard scoring pass at the end of the first quarter to break open the scoring. Grayson Easterling’s extra point made it 7-0.

“We had some mental mistakes,” Craven said of the first quarter. “On the first drive it looked like we were going to shift into motion when we were really just trying to line up. We looked like we were doing all kinds of stuff.”

Pickens Academy’s most promising drive of the night came in the second quarter when the Pirates drove into Raider territory. But Oak Hill’s Daniel Harrington sacked Pirate quarterback Seth Peeks for a 15-yard to snuff the momentum and force a punt.

Cullum would throw his second touchdown of the evening on a Hail Mary pass with no time remaining on the clock as he rolled right and connected with Manning Huffman for a 36-yard touchdown to make it 13-0 at the half.

“I drew up the play and since there was only four seconds left, it was going to be a jump ball in the end zone,” Craven said. “All of that was designed, but him scrambling outside the pocket was not designed. You’re supposed to step up in the pocket and let our linemen do the work.”

Oak Hill would score again late in the third quarter when Cullum went into the end zone from one yard out on a quarterback sneak to give the Raiders a 20-0 lead with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter.

“He actually called that himself,” Craven said. “He said ‘Coach I’ve got this play’ and it was exactly what I was going to call anyhow. That’s the reason he’s a good quarterback.”

The Raiders were threatening to score again midway through the fourth quarter when Austin Goodman ended the drive with an interception at the 8-yard line. The senior cornerback almost picked off another Oak Hill pass late in the fourth quarter as well. Pickens Academy had their biggest play of the game after the Goodman interception when Rye ran for a 38-yard gain with 3:41 left in the game. Two plays later the drive would end on a fumble which was recovered by the Raiders’ Tyler Oswalt.

The Raiders picked up nine first downs to Pickens Academy’s three.

“I was totally disappointed offensively,” Pickens Academy head coach Wade Goodman said. “When you’re not blocking, it makes it tough. We usually shoot for three or four yards (per run) on the ground, but I don’t know that we ever got that except for that big play. I don’t know how - if we block like we did today - that we’ll score over 21 points in a ball game this year.”

While Craven was happy with how his team performed in the exhibition, he said his team still has a long way to go to meet his standards.

“We ran our plays well, but ball security, throwing the ball on time, staying on a block, driving our legs, those are some things we’ve got to work on,” Craven said. “The defense did a great job. We just need to be physical on defense and be very great tacklers. We had a few guys not using the form we teach now and again, so we’ll just keep working.”

The Raiders open their season Friday night at home against Deer Creek School.

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