Patriots get big returns, win ugly

Patriots get big returns, win ugly

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Patriots get big returns, win ugly

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BRENTWOOD

It wasn’t pretty Friday night.

But Oakland made just enough special teams plays to pull out a much-needed win.

Oakland returned a punt and a kick for touchdowns to help the Patriots beat Ravenwood 27-15 in a non-district contest. Oakland won without its top play-maker Emmanuel Smith, who sat out with an injured ankle.

And the Patriots (5-3) practiced just Wednesday and Thursday before doing a walk through on Friday prior to the game.

“I’m going to take some of the blame on this,” Oakland coach Thomas McDaniel said. “Playing on fall break is not ideal, but it was something we had to do. We gave them a couple days off and in hindsight that probably wasn’t a very smart thing.

“We were limited in reps in practice. And the environment wasn’t very good.”

Oakland scored on a 68-yard punt return by Tyler Black in the first half and a George Gbesee 90-yard kickoff return in the second half.

Gbesee’s score came moments after the Raptors (1-6) had cut Oakland’s lead to 14-8.

“Sometimes you have to pick it up on special teams,” said Black, a sophomore. “That’s a lot of the game right there.”

Black also blocked a Ravenwood PAT.

Special teams was the difference as Ravenwood outgained Oakland 238-195 for the game.

“We could not get that two or three yards when we needed it in the first half,” Ravenwood coach Joe Rietveld said. “If we would have gotten it, we would have kept the chains moving.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with some silly penalties. We’re not skilled enough to do that.”

Oakland running back D.J. Hood had 17 carries for 134 yards and scored on a 3-yard run with 10:21 left to take a 27-8 lead and essentially put the game away. Ravenwood’s Brandon Jordan had a 31-yard run on a reverse that gave the Raptors hope with 8:19 left. Jordan also caught a 19-yard TD pass from quarterback Avery Jankowski earlier in the second half.

But Oakland was awarded Ravenwood’s onside kick attempt after a Raptor touched the ball prematurely.

Stacey finished 5-of-11 passing for 55 yards in his first start. Oakland managed just 140 rushing yards on 26 carries. The Patriots also lost three fumbles.

“It’s just the same story, different day,” McDaniel said. “We’re our own worst enemy with penalties. Turning the ball inside the red zone is something we have to stop doing. Defensively, we’re getting them in long yardage situations, then had a couple of personal fouls for facemasks.

“Some of those are effort plays, but we have to eliminate them.”

Oakland had eight penalties for 89 yards.

Oakland struggled with penalties and poor blocking to lead just 14-2 at halftime. Oakland was called for five penalties for 44 yards in the first half, including four on the first offensive drive of the game.

Black played a part of both Oakland first-half scores. His interception led to Stacey’s 4-yard TD run on fourth-and-1 four plays later.

Black scored on a 68-yard interception return after the Raptors’ three-and-out on their next possession. Ravenwood punter Michael Giangreco booted the ball inside the Oakland 5 after Ravenwood’s next drive stalled at the Oakland 40.

Three plays later, Stacey was sacked by Ravenwood’s Chris Wein as he rolled to his right in the end zone for a safety.

“I knew going in that they would send pressure because that is everybody’s answer for us when we start running the ball – to take chances,” McDaniel said. “The safety was totally on me. We were pinned deep, and I took a chance because I thought it was the right time.”

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