Oliver Springs plays nearly flawless ball

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By Brody Jones

Football is a game of perfection. Teams have to play near flawless levels each time they take the field to emerge as the victor on the gridiron.

For the Oliver Springs Bobcats, they played nearly flawlessly as they took a convincing 34-8 victory over the Harriman Blue Devils in the TMSAA Class AA Semi-Finals Thursday night.

“For us, it was just another game in our season,” stated Bobcats head coach Larry Green. “Our offensive line played very well and our running backs did a great job when they ran the ball. The defense played outstanding and this was a great team win.

“We were worried about Harriman because they’re a very dangerous and well-coached team, plus coach (Baron) Tapp is the premier middle school coach in Roane County over the past few years and Harriman played us as hard as I expected them to play us.”

“We just ran into a brick wall tonight,” Harriman head coach Baron Tapp said. “Oliver Springs was the better team and they just punished us.

“But I couldn’t be more proud of our kids tonight. We weren’t even supposed to be here and for us to make a run to the semi-finals is just phenomenal. Our kids have nothing to hang their heads about.”

The Blue Devils initial possession failed to net them a first down so they punted it away to the Bobcat 38 yard line.

Seven plays later, Oliver Springs completed a 62-yard drive with a Garrett Miller touchdown run from 25 yards away.

Lance Green found Cory McBee for the two-point conversion to make the score 8-0 with 3:05 left in the opening quarter.

On Harriman’s next drive, they managed to get across mid-field, but the Bobcat defense held steady and forced the Devils to punt it away to start the second quarter.

Six plays and 85 yards later, it was once again “Miller Time” as Miller capped the drive off with a 34-yard touchdown run.

The two-point try fell short and the score was 14-0 with 5:07 left in the second quarter.

After recovering a Harriman fumble, Oliver Springs’ next drive covered 73 yards on 10 plays with the scoring play coming from a 25 yard end-around run from Jordan Romero on fourth down.

Miller converted the two-point try to bring the score to 22-0 at the half.

The Bobcats picked up right where they left off in the second half as they covered 52 yards in six plays with Miller finding the end zone one more time with a 24-yard touchdown run.

The two-point try fell short and the score was now 28-0 with 4:30 left in the third quarter.

After a turnover on downs, Oliver Springs scored again with an 11-play, 54-yard drive. Seth Morgan scored the first touchdown of his middle school career with an 11-yard run to make the score 34-0 with 4:04 to go in the game.

Harriman only took two plays on their next drive to find the end zone with Lucas Lunsford hooking up with a wide-open Tyler Stubbs for a 55-yard touchdown reception.

Lunsford ran in the conversion to make the final score 34-8.

“Our game plan was to come out and run right at Harriman,” Green said. “We wanted to use our big offensive line to our advantage and we challenged our o-line to come out and play some football and tonight, they did exactly that.”

Oliver Springs was led on the ground by Miller with 203 yards and three TDs on 18 carries, along with Romero’s 94 yards and one TD on 14 carries.

The leading rusher for the Devils was Cole McAbee with six carries for 58 yards.

The Bobcats beat the Devils in total yardage with a 319-107 edge.

Coming up next for the Bobcats are the Cherokee Yellow Jackets in the TMSAA East Tennessee Championship Game to be held at Jacksboro this Saturday at 3 p.m.

“Cherokee’s a well-coached team with a strong group of linemen,” Green said. “We’re going to have a hard week of practice to get ready for them and we’re going to need a flawless effort to beat them.”