MURFREESBORO — Lazarius Patterson found a second gear for a second straight week.
The Oakland junior running back rushed for a career-high 243 yards and the second-ranked Patriots defeated cross-town rival Riverdale 43-14 Friday night at Ray Hughes Stadium.
It marked Oakland’s third straight win in the Battle of the ‘Boro and first under first-year coach Kevin Creasy. Riverdale leads the series 32-14.
“It’s kind of like pulling a pickle out of a jar,” Creasy said. “Once you get that first one, hopefully it will be easier after that. This wasn’t easy.”
Oakland (7-1, 5-0 2-6A) played without starting two-way starting lineman Hudson Smith and starting safety Kaleb Oliver.
“We were very disappointed that we had to bench two of the starters for violation of team rules,” Creasy said.
Patterson scored on touchdown runs of 82, 10 and 65 yards. He has seven total touchdowns and 332 yards over the past two weeks.
“This feels really great,” Patterson said. “I’m really finally grateful that we understand the (Wing-T) offense. We are showing what we can do because we started kind of rough.
“I finally understand the offense and the blocking schemes. I’m starting to rip it up a little bit more.”
Oakland finished with 41 carries for 355 yards.
Gene Odom’s 10-yard TD run combined with Canaan Owens’ catch on a 2-point conversion gave Riverdale (5-3, 3-2) an early 8-7 lead.
However, LSU commitment JaCoby Stevens made it 15-8 at halftime when he scored on a 9-yard run out of a Wildcat formation. Patterson’s second TD of the night combined with Jackson Cauthen’s 25-yard interception return for a TD made it 29-8 with 5:14 left in the third quarter. Patterson then broke off his final TD run to end the quarter to put the game out of reach.
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.