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The 2010 football season came to an end Friday night for the Oliver Springs Bobcats as Wiley Brackett’s squad suffered a 48-14 setback at the hands of Wartburg in the TSSAA playoffs.
“I don’t know where our heads were tonight,” Coach Brackett said after the game. “We just didn’t play Oliver Springs football.”
While the Bobcats weren’t on their game, the same couldn’t be said for the Bulldogs as Dan Shoemaker’s squad got revenge for a 32-27 loss just three weeks ago at Oliver Springs.
Coach Shoemaker credits his team’s focus in practice and a first round bye as big reasons in the turnaround.
“This is a good win for us,” he said. “I think the big thing is how we were able to prepare in the bye week. We were also able to get some guys healthy. Getting Jaylon Shannon and Aaron Hutchinson back on track really helps.”
While Friday’s game should be remembered for a truly special performance from the Bulldogs, some will remember Friday’s contest for an ugly incident with 3:56 left to play as both benches emptied after a scuffle following an onside kick.
Although not a lot, if any, punches were thrown all parties involved agreed it was best to end the game and not risk an even uglier incident.
“I hated to see it end like that, but I think it was the right decision. Coach Brackett and I were in agreement as were the game administrator Dallas Davis and head referee Stan Huff,” Shoemaker said. “This was a huge game between two rivals and these kids are competitive. I know both sides hated to see this.”
“Sometimes kids lose control,” Brackett added. “I agree with the decision to stop the game. It was bad enough with what happened and it could have turned out worse if we continued.
“I want to apologize to my school and the entire Oliver Springs community for this incident.”
As far as the game was concerned, the Bobcats played well early, but a poor second quarter allowed the Bulldogs to take a 35-7 lead at halftime and from that point on Wartburg never looked back.
Wartburg rolled up an amazing 339 yards of total offense in the first half alone.
The first 64 yards came on the game’s first possession as Shannon capped a 6-play drive with a 17-yard run that made the score 7-0 with 10:10 left in the opening period.
Oliver Springs came right back though, as the Bobcats marched 78 yards in 13 plays with QB Garrett Miller hooking up with Austin West from 11 yards out for the touchdown.
Kyle Coker’s PAT tied the score at 7-7 with 5:12 left in the opening period.
Wartburg, however, answered quickly and took the lead for good.
Starting from their own 43, the Bulldogs needed seven plays to cover 57 yards. The big play of the drive was a 48-yard pass from QB Rusty Phillips to Wes Mehlhorn and the scoring play came on a halfback pass from Shannon to Zeke Goodman covering one yard.
Derek Harlan added the PAT to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead with 1:50 left in the opening period.
Oliver Springs appeared as if they might answer again when they drove past midfield on their next possession, but a holding penalty eventually killed the drive the Bulldogs took control of the contest.
Following a punt, Shannon scored on a 56-yard run to put the finishing touches on a 75-yard scoring drive that made the score 21-7 with 7:01 left in the first half.
Oliver Springs tried to answer quickly on their next drive, but a long pass from Miller was picked off by Wartburg’s Adam Spence.
The Bulldogs then drove 62 yards in three plays with Phillips hooking up with Shannon from 4 yards out to make the score 28-7 with 5:56 left in the first half.
Oliver Springs’ next drive also ended in a turnover as Wartburg’s Austin Langley picked off a pass.
Wartburg turned this turnover into points five plays later when Spence capped a 77-yard drive with a 2-yard run that made the score 35-7 with 1:52 left in the first half.
Phillips set up the score with a 53-yard run.
Oliver Springs almost managed to take some momentum into the locker room at halftime as they drove to the Bulldogs 3, but time would run out in the half as a Bobcat pass on third down fell incomplete in the end zone.
There would be no halftime letdown for the Bulldogs as they opened the second half with a three-and-out on defense then the Bulldogs drove 67 yards in nine plays to put the final nail in the coffin.
Phillips scored from 7 yards out to make the score 41-7 with 5:51 left in the third period.
Wartburg scored their last touchdown of the game with 9:49 remaining as Phillips hooked up with Shannon from 10 yards out to make the score 48-14.
Oliver Springs’ final score came when backup QB Lance Green hooked up with John Simms from 14 yards out with 3:57 remaining.
Ray Efferson set up the score with an interception.
Wartburg ended the evening 413 yards of total offense.
The Bulldogs ran the ball 27 times for 258 yards. Shannon led the charge with 143 yards and 2 TDs on 12 carries while Phillips added 79 yards and one score on eight carries.
Phillips also completed 13 of 16 passes for 154 yards with 2 TDs.
Oliver Springs ended the night with 273 yards of offense on 59 plays.
Jordan Romero led the attack with 67 yards on 14 carries while Miller added 50 yards on 13 attempts.
Miller added 112 yards passing, completing 14 of 25 attempts.
Wartburg (9-2) will host Boyd-Buchanan (8-4) Friday night in the TSSAA quarterfinals.
Oliver Springs ends the season with a 7-5 record.
Oliver Springs Statistics
Rushing- Romero 14-67, West 2-19, Miller 13-50, Nelson 1-18, Williams 2-(-1), Team 1-(-6).
Passing- Miller 14-25 for 112 yards with 1 TD and 3 INTs., Green 1-1 for 14 yards with 1 TD.
Receiving- Simms 3-33 with 1 TD, West 3-33 with 1 TD, Romero 4-26, Efferson 3-27, Nelson 1-2, Crisp 1-5.