OXFORD—For the second week in a row, Oxford found itself trailing deep in the fourth quarter, needing to march of a long drive for victory. And for the second straight week, the Hornets (2-0) pulled it off, this time marching off a 73-yard scoring drive in the game’s final three minutes to edge Twin Valley 42-35.
“It’s crazy, if you asked me before the game whether I’d rather win on the final drive or by blowout, obviously you’d want the blow out,” said Oxford Coach Mike Means. “But what this does for our kids and their confidence is immeasurable. The confidence that this builds knowing they can do what it takes to win is big.”
That final drive nearly stalled. The Hornets, trailing 35-34, were facing a fourth-and-eight at their own thirty, with a little over two minutes left to play. Quarterback Chandler England took the snap out of the shotgun, and after his line gave him all the time in the world, found Brandon DeShields open over the middle. DeShields made a circus catch, and tumbled over midfield for the first down.
“Brandon is probably the best wide receiver in the Ches-Mont,” said England. “I knew he was going to come down with it. I knew we could count on him.”
England followed with a 14-yard completion to Julian Nadachowski down to the Raider 31. A personal foul call tacked on 15 yards, and a pair of running plays made it first and goal from the five. Two plays later, England ran it in himself for the touchdown, then again for the two-point conversion to make it 42-35.
But there were still 50.5 seconds showing on the clock for the Raiders to make one last drive. That effort was squelched by DeShields, who, for the second straight week, iced the game with an interception.
“It feels great to go out there and make plays for my team,” said DeShields. “We stay sharp for four quarters, and we all knew we were going to do it when we had to. This was just a fun, crazy night.”
Oxford was without its primary running back, Brandon Holz, sitting out for a week to rest an injury. But in his place, sophomore Tim Faber was more than adequate. The young Hornet running back piled up 104 yards on 18 carries and found the end zone twice.
“Tim is just a great, scrappy kid,” said Means. “As a sophomore, we weren’t expecting to have to use him that much, but that’s what happens with injuries and he really came through for us.”
England led the Hornets offensive attack with 318 yards on 24 of 37 passing. He threw for two touchdowns, and ran for another pair of scores. His favorite target was DeShields, who pulled in 10 balls for 159 yards and a touchdown.
“Last year, like coach Means said, we had a monkey on our back and we just couldn’t win the close ones,” said England. “After we shook that monkey off our backs last week with Henderson, we’re now in it to win it. We are all very confident in each other and it feels like nothing can stop us.”
Oxford 42 Twin Valley 35
Twin Valley 6 8 0 21 — 35
Oxford 7 14 7 14 — 42
TV Gardner 3-run, kick fail 6-0
OX — Faber 45-run, O’Connor kick 7-6
OX—DeShields 5-pass from England, O’Connor kick 14-6
OX—McWilliams 31-pass from England, O’Connor kick 21-6
TV—Bennett 20 pass from Gardner, Mable pass from Gardner 21-14
OX—Faber 3-run, OConnor kick 28-14
TV—Garnder 1-run, Cox kick 28-21
OX — England 14-run, kick fail, 34-21
TV—Ott 17-pass from Gardner, Cox kick, 34-28
TV—Sabulsky 15-pass from Garnder, Cox kick 35-34
OX—England 2-run, England run, 42-35
First downs 21 24
Rushes-yards 23-108 30-171
Passing 20-35-3-2 24-37-2-0
Passing yards 269 318
Total yards 377 489
Punts 1-39 0-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 7-52 7-60
Rushing — TV—Sabulsky 7-34, Gardner 4-15, 2TD, Bennett 8-45, Funk 2-12, Mable 2-2 OX—Faber 18-104 2TD, England 10-60 2TD, McWilliams 2-7
Passing — TV—Gardner 20-35, 269 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT OX—England 24-37, 318 yards, 2 TD
Receiving — TV—Funk 2-50, Mable 2-27, Sabulsky 5-74, TD; Pegler 3-32, Bennett 5-84, Ott 2-22 TD OX—DeShields 10-159, TD; Nadachowski 5-47, McWilliams 5-58, Faber 4-63, Thomas 1-7
Interceptions — Oxford—DeShields, Kochmansky
Sacks — none