With a short week on the horizon, Oakland made short work of host La Vergne on Friday night, rolling to a 58-7 victory.
The Patriots (8-0, 4-0), ranked No. 2 in Class 6A, won easily in advance of Thursday’s District 7-AAA showdown against No. 3 Blackman (8-0, 5-0) — a 28-13 winner over Smyrna on Friday.
Oakland scored on a 16-yard run from Darryle Hood Jr. with 1:26 remaining in the first quarter. The Patriots then limited La Vergne (2-6, 1-4) to four straight three-and-out series and never started a possession on their own side of the field thanks to those four stands.
The defensive stands set up three straight two-play scoring drives — Kyle Oliver’s 33-yard pass from Rhett Stacey, Josh Cunningham’s 43-yard run and Emmanuel Smith’s 35-yard run — and one four-play drive capped by Fredarius Wade’s 8-yard TD.
On the lone drive Oakland started from its own side of the field in the second quarter, the Patriots needed big play to make up the difference — a Stacey swing pass that Cunningham took 65 yards.
Even La Vergne’s longest drive of the first half ended in a big-play score for Oakland. The Wolverines drove 55 yards to the Oakland 10 — largely thanks to a 48-yard pass from C.J. Fore to Mario Dismuke. But a sack of Fore by Oakland’s Malek Holman was followed by a vicious hit and forced fumble, also by Holman. Kevin Prather was there to scoop up the ball at the 10, and he returned it 90 yards for a score with no time left in the first half.
“It was just passion and wanting it more,” Prather said of the team’s defensive effort. “We just tried our best to stay focused and come out hard.”
Fore helped the Wolverines avoid the shutout with a 30-yard touchdown keeper as time expired in the third quarter.
“Just because we don’t get enough yardage doesn’t mean we have to stop fighting,” La Vergne’s Maleik Gray said. “It’s just one of those games. We have to come back harder next week. We have a lot of heart. The thing about us is we’re young and we’ve got years to build on.”