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OSMS escapes Coalfield with 16-12 win

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By The Staff

By BRODY JONES

Roane Newspapers

The Oliver Springs and Coalfield rivalry over the years has been comparable to the Hatfields and the McCoys. This year’s middle school game was no exception as both teams battled tooth and nail for 32 minutes and when the dust settled, it was the Bobcats escaping from the bituminous mountain known as Coalfield with a 16-12 victory.

“The game was a typical knock-down, drag-out Oliver Springs and Coalfield affair,” said an elated Oliver Springs head coach Larry Green. “Both teams played hard and left it all on the field. And our defense bent but didn’t break in the final drive. It may not have been a pretty win, but we’ll take it any way we can get it.”

The game started off with Coalfield fumbling the ball on their second play of offense and the Bobcats’ Marcus Miller pouncing on it on the Coalfield 26 yard line. Six plays later, Seth Morgan ran the ball to the promised land from 12 yards out for the touchdown.

Michael Nelson punched in the two-point conversion with 4:26 left to take an early 8-0 lead.

Coalfield responded back with a nine-play, 47-yard drive capped off with a four-yard Heath Tinker touchdown run. The two-point conversion was no good and the score was 8-6 with 11 seconds left in the opening quarter.

After a Bobcat punt, Tinker scored again from three yards out to cap a seven-play, 45-yard drive. The two-point try again fell short, making the score 12-8 with 3:20 left in the half.

Neither team threatened the end zone over the remainder of the half as the Jackets held the four-point lead.

“I told our boys at halftime that we needed to focus better and worry about the efforts and assignments along with we needed better blocking and tackling,” said Green.

The Bobcats used a huge 30 yard kickoff return from Eddie Stevenson to get the football in Jackets territory. Three plays later, Tyler Duggins lofted a pass to Michael Nelson for a 38-yard touchdown reception. Nelson punched in the two-point conversion for a 16-12 lead with 6:12 left in the third quarter.

Coalfield got the ball back and got in Bobcat territory before turning it over on downs. Oliver Springs then managed to move the chains a couple of times before the end of the third quarter with the score still 16-12.

After Oliver Springs punted the ball away in the opening seconds of the final quarter, Coalfield orchestrated an 18-play, 61-yard drive that in the end fell half a yard short at the OS four yard line.

Duggins fell on the ball three consecutive times to close the game and preserve the 16-12 win for the Bobcats.

Oliver Springs was led through the air by Duggins, going 1 for 3 for 38 yards and one TD. Seth Morgan and Michael Nelson were the big offensive work-horses running the ball with Morgan running 12 times for 47 yards plus racking up nine tackles while Nelson had eight carries for 28 yards, plus one reception for 38 yards and a touchdown.

Other leading tacklers for the Bobcats defense were Dillon Shelton and Lee Crass with eight tackles and Jesse Kennedy with five tackles.

Coalfield was led on offense by the passing of Brett Keener, going 4 for 4 for 48 yards.

Heath Armes and Heath Tinker carried the bulk of the load for the Jackets ground game. Armes carried the ball 19 times for 93 yards and Tinker carried it 11 times for 49 yards and two TDs. Armes also had three receptions for 47 yards plus four tackles.

Brett Keener led the team with five tackles and Brady Walls wasn’t far behind with four tackles.

“I thought our offense moved the ball very well at times and Tyler Duggins did a nice job in his first middle school start,” Green said. “Seth Morgan and Michael Nelson did a good job running the ball and we started a sixth grader on the line tonight in Marcus Miller. Dillon Shelton did a good job for us after moving from fullback to the line. He also made some big stops on defense.”

Oliver Springs played at Cherokee on Tuesday.