Pats storm past Wave

Pats storm past Wave

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Pats storm past Wave

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GALLATIN

Oakland still has plenty of fight left.

The Patriots erased an early two-touchdown deficit with a blistering second quarter to race past host Gallatin 44-14 Friday night Green Wave Stadium.

Oakland junior quarterback Emmanuel Smith ran for a touchdown, caught another and added an interception on defense for the Patriots who scored 34 points in the final 13:48 of the first half to turn a 14-point deficit into a 20-point lead.

“We were nervous off the bat, but we kept our heads in the game,” said Smith, who ran for a game-high 138 yards on 17 carries. “After all that bad stuff happened we just kept playing.”

Gallatin had all the momentum early, recovering a loose ball on the opening kickoff and recovering an Oakland fumble in the Green Wave end zone. Senior Morgan Campbell turned both miscues into points with a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to successfully stake Gallatin to a 14-0 lead halfway through the period.

That’s when the Patriots had enough.

Eric Abernathy started the scoring with a 3-yard plunge to finally get the Patriots on the board. Travon Willis’ third-down sack of Campbell on the Green Wave’s next possession forced Gallatin to punt back to Oakland, and six plays later, backup quarterback Rhett Stacey hit Smith for a 26-yard touchdown to tie it at 14.

“I know with the two losses we’ve had early in the season, that people are probably doubting us,” said Oakland coach Tommy McDaniel, whose team improved to 2-2 on the season. “That’s OK. Between the kickoff, the fumble and that screen pass, those were three big plays that went against us that we could have kept our heads down, but we fought back.”

The Oakland defense got into the act, picking off Campbell twice and backup Green Wave quarterback Marcus Williams once in the next six minutes. Tyson Cope set up a Darryle Hood Jr. touchdown, Tyler Black did the honors himself going 38 yards to pay dirt, and defensive lineman Austin Barrett picked off a screen pass leading to Smith’s six-yard run.

“It made us angry,” said Black of the Green Wave’s early success. “It made us want to play harder, and then the momentum just swung our way big.”

With momentum in their corner, the Patriot offensive line made sure that it stayed there. Oakland rushed for 324 yards on 40 carries. In addition to Smith’s big night, Hood added 85 yards on 10 carries and Abernathy had 69 on just seven touches.

On the other side of the ball, Oakland was just as dominant. After allowing 98 yards and 14 points on Gallatin’s first eight plays, the Pats limited the Green Wave to just 115 yards and a shutout the rest of the way while forcing six Gallatin turnovers.

“We thought our offensive line was a strength, and we dominated the line of scrimmage,” said McDaniel. “But also, keeping them off the board after those first two drives made a statement.

“Our team grew up tonight.”

The only scoring in the second half belonged to Gallatin, as Alex VanSenus nailed a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Stacey added a second touchdown pass with an eight-yard strike to Kyle Oliver in the fourth.

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