By Bill Rudick
Photo captions: Patrick Kinsella goes up high to make a catch that set up Oxford’s first TD
Tim Davis scoring that first TD
OXFORD—Oxford had lost a lot of close games this season, many in the waning minutes of the contest. Friday night as Oxford honored their outgoing seniors playing their final home game, the Hornets pulled some late heroics of their own when Chandler England found Troy Brown open in the end zone to tie the game at 22-22 with 31-seconds to play. The PAT sealed a 23-22 Oxford victory.
“It just feels so good to finally win one of these close games,” said senior linebacker Brendon Chew. “We’ve finally had both offense and defense step up and do what we needed to do. Hopefully win close out with a win next week and give the guys coming back something to build on.”
Trailing 16-6 to start the fourth period, the Blue Demons battled back with a pair of unanswered touchdowns, one a 15 yard pass from Jake Dilcher to Dom D’Angelo, the other a three yard run from Connor Hyzny. Kennett made both two-point conversion on pass plays to take a 22-26 lead with 4:34 to play.
“You could almost feel it on the sidelines,” said Oxford coach Mike Means. “We’ve lost so many tight ones, they could have felt like ‘here we go again.’ But even after they stopped us on that first drive after they took the lead, our guys were up and confident when we got the ball back. They believed we were going to get this one”
The Hornets got one last chance for a game-winning drive, taking over at their own 32 with just 1:08 left on the clock. But England calmly marched the Hornets down field on pass plays to the sideline. Helped along by a pass interference call, the Hornets had a first and ten at the eleven.
On first down, England went for the end zone, where Troy Brown was running a fade. Brown and the Kennett defender got tangled up, and the Demons were hit with pass interference. England went right back to Brown, but when the defensive back anticipated another fade, Brown cut back, and England delivered the ball easily.
“That was a great call by Coach Means there because I was wide open,” said Brown. “All I could think about was that this might be my last chance to catch a touchdo
wn pass in high school. I’m just glad I caught it and we won this game.”
Not so fast. There was still the matter of the extra point before the Hornets could celebrate. But after a couple of penalties and a Kennett time out, kicker Ryan Hannum delivered the game winner.
“Last week was tough for me, with a couple kicks blocked,” said Hannum. “I was just really happy to make this one and get the win.”
The win wasOxford’s second on the season, but first in the Ches-Mont.
“I’m just really happy for the kids that we came out on the right end of one of these,” said means. “We’re 2-7, but if you take out the Rustin game, I think we might actually be in the positive for point differential. This could be a big turning point for our program, They showed they could avoid getting down on themselves and win one down the stretch.”