For the majority of the first half, Oak Grove running back Deion Wilson had open lanes to run through.
To the tune of 134 yards and three touchdowns, Wilson was crafting his own personal symphony against the top-ranked Many Tigers.
But all it took was a few adjustments at the break to shut down Wilson’s music.
Many improved to 12-1 on the season, rallying from a six-point deficit at the break to defeat No. 8 Oak Grove in the Class 2A quarterfinals on Friday, 34-20.
“Halftime is where you make adjustments,” Many head coach Jess Curtis said. “Oak Grove was hurting us with one play in particular and we made the changes necessary to take care of it.”
The lanes weren’t as open for Wilson in the second half as he ran the ball seven times in the second half for just five yards as top-ranked Many shut down the vaunted Oak Grove attack.
But it didn’t look like Many would be able to stop Oak Grove’s wing-T at all.
On the opening play of the game, Wilson raced 54 yards for the touchdown and Aaron Davis nailed the PAT for a 7-0 lead just 15 seconds into the game.
It appeared as if Many had answered with a 77-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Chris Hopkins. However, a penalty negated the score and Many was unable to answer.
After forcing an Oak Grove punt, Many’s offense went to work.
Kentrell Maxie gained 26 yards to the Oak Grove 38 and quarterback Xavier Dias fired an 18-yard pass to Lorenzo Warren for a first down at the 20. After Many failed to pick up a yard on first down, Dias hooked up with Warren again on a 20-yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 7-7.
But Oak Grove answered with a 60-yard drive, capped off by an 18-yard run from Wilson for a touchdown, making the score 14-7.
Late in the second quarter, Many went on a 9-play drive, covering 66 yards, ending with a 1-yard plunge from Dias to tie things up at 14-14.
However, Oak Grove took the lead into the locker room as it took advantage of a Many turnover. Oak Grove got a 29-yard touchdown run from Wilson, who shook six tackles en route to the score. However, the PAT was stopped and Oak Grove owned a 20-14 lead at the break.
It was all Many, however, in the second half as Dias scored on touchdown runs of 6 and 16, along with converting on a fourth-and-16, which eventually led to a 53-yard touchdown scamper by James Carhee, accounting for the 34-20 victory.
“The games are going to be like this for the rest of the season,” Curtis said. “Oak Grove has a great group of backs, but so do we. Our backs ran the ball extremely hard and I’m proud of how the ran.”
Maxie had 22 carries for 153 yards, while Carhee had just seven carries, but for 132 yards and a touchdown. Dias was limited to 41 yards rushing, but scored three times, while passing for 88 yards and a score.
Wilson finished with 139 yards on 19 carries for Oak Grove, which finished the season at 8-5.