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The Oliver Springs offense looked unstoppable during the first half against rival Oneida on Friday night.
Unfortunately, football games consist of two halves.
Oneida made adjustments and overcame a 28-14 Bobcat lead at the break to run away with a 42-28 district win on DJ Brittan Field in Oliver Springs.
Oliver Springs (4-3 overall, 2-2 in District 4-A) piled up impressive yards during the first half, putting together a balanced attack against Oneida. The Bobcats would run 22 times for 135 yards during the first two quarters, led by Jordan Romero and Williams. Through the air, quarterback Garrett Miller was on fire.
Miller was a perfect 7-for-7 through the air for 145 yards as the Bobcats piled up 280 yards of total offense during the first two periods. But again, that wouldn't be the case during the third and fourth quarters.
The game started fast for the Bobcats, taking the opening kickoff and marching down the field quick.
The eight-play, 69-yard drive was capped by a Miller to John Simms touchdown pass from 20 yards out. Simms, a sophomore, would be one of Miller's key targets the entire night. The scoring play came on a big fourth down play, after Oliver Springs seemed to stall out on the ground. But Miller found Simms on the slant play, putting Oliver Springs ahead 6-0.
Oliver Springs held tough on defense, but wouldn't find the end zone again until late in the first.
This time, the Bobcats used four plays to span 61 yards, but most of that came on one play.
On another fourth down, Miller and the Bobcat offense seemed confused as the ball was snapped. Instead, Miller hit a wide open Austin West down the middle of the field for a 57-yard touchdown completion. After Miller hit Michael Nelson for the two-point conversion, Oliver Springs held a 14-0 lead with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.
Oneida finally cracked the scoreboard early in the second, cutting the Bobcat lead to 14-7, but that score was quickly answered by Oliver Springs, who appeared to outmatch Oneida in every phase of the game.
The eight-play drive was capped at the 6:43 mark of the second when Miller ripped through Oneida defenders for a touchdown. On the extra point, Romero took the snap and found the end zone to put the Bobcats ahead 22-7.
But Oneida's quick strike offense was starting to get heated up and they quickly cut that lead to 22-14.
Again, Oliver Springs answered.
Miller made a nice fake and found an open Nelson for a 50-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was blocked, but with 2:18 left in the first half, the Bobcats held a 28-14 lead -- a lead they would carry into the halftime break thanks to an interception by Corey McBee that thwarted an Oneida drive at the end of the first half.
But after the break, Oneida came out a different team.
Another key, one that went unnoticed by some fans, was an injury by Oliver Springs. Two-way standout Michael Aliff, who plays on the offensive and defensive lines, went down with an injury late in the second quarter. The junior's blocking and defensive prowess were both sorely missed by the Bobcat coaching staff.
In the second half, however, the Indians would stuff the Bobcats' offense routinely. On offense, Oneida scored 28 points in the final two quarters, while Oliver Springs had no answer.
Despite that, the Bobcats found themselves with a chance late in the game.
After the Bobcat defense held, the Oliver Springs offense took over with a little over five minutes remaining in the game, trailing 35-28. That defense shined a lot during the game, led by the play of linebacker Seth Morgan.
Miller ran to give the Bobcats a first down at midfield, but the drive stalled and Oneida took over. The Indians would march for the final score, giving them a big district win, 42-28.
Oliver Springs must rebound quickly. The Bobcats will visit high-flying Sunbright in another district battle this Friday night with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff scheduled.