MURFREESBORO – Oakland scored 35 unanswered points after falling behind early, including two touchdowns apiece from Kendrick Johnson and JaCoby Stevens, and the Patriots racked 488 yards of total offense in a 49-30 victory over Siegel Friday night at Ray Hughes Field.
The Patriots (2-1) fumbled twice in the opening quarter, leading to 10 Siegel points and a 17-7 deficit after Jacob Smith’s 18-yard field goal with 2:58 left in the period.
Johnson scored from six yards out, capping a nine-play, 73-yard drive, and then on a three-yard run after a 63-yard catch-and-run from Stevens. Jackson Cauthen’s 47-yard interception return for a TD late in the half gave the home team a 28-17 advantage at the break.
The Patriots took the opening drive of the second half 80 yards on seven plays, with Stevens catching a 26-yard TD pass. Siegel answered with its best drive since the first quarter, moving to the OHS 11, but Greedy Howse fumbled in a pile of players and the ball popped out to the feet of Stevens, who picked it up and scampered 91 yards for another score and a 42-17 Patriots advantage.
Stevens also got Oakland on the board with a 51-yard TD catch in the first period and also grabbed a 46-yard spiral in the final quarter. He finished with five catches for 208 yards and the two scores and also made eight tackles in the contest.
“Three games in a row we’ve gotten behind, and three games in a row we’ve turned the ball over, so I’ll take the blame for this,” OHS head coach Kevin Creasy said. “We have fought back when we’re down a few scores, but if we’re going to keep winning close games, we’ve got to start fast, and we’ve also got to put people away.”
The two teams honored Mason Loupe, who died Wednesday after a gunshot wound suffered last weekend, before the game, with both squads lining the sidelines and marching toward midfield arm-in-arm for the pregame coin toss. The Siegel players held Loupe’s No. 22 jersey as well.
“I think the kids handled the situation very well. It’s been so up-and-down, not knowing what the outcome was going to be until Wednesday,” Siegel head coach Greg Wyant said. “I can’t say enough about our community and how they’ve supported us and this football team and supported the Loupe family by giving money and prayers and prayer vigils.
“Just those things make you proud to be from Rutherford County.”
“I think both schools honored the Loupe family tonight,” Creasy added. “It really shows what impact his life was on everybody that he touched.”
Howse rushed for 136 yards on 23 carries while Jordan Middleton finished 13-of-27 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns, both of those in the second half.