War Eagles capitalize on turnovers to surge past Cavaliers

By: Jim East, Woodlands Online Sports
| Published 10/08/2016


THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- What had been a tight defensive battle quickly escalated into a lopsided affair on Friday night as the Oak Ridge War Eagles cashed in three third-quarter turnovers for three touchdowns in a 28-7 victory over College Park.

Watch the game highlights here.

The War Eagles (4-3) piled up 21 unanswered points in a five-minute stretch after the Cavaliers (0-7) had played them to a draw in the first half. Showing their versatility on offense, Oak Ridge got third-quarter touchdowns from Darrius Jelks, Kendrick Johnson and Bishop Durst. Their defense ably protected their lead the rest of the way.

Both defenses flexed their muscles in the first half and made it impossible for either team to gain much momentum.

Oak Ridge struck first with a drive that bridged the first and second quarters. Starting on their own 44, the War Eagles relied on Jimmie Moore’s strength and quickness to get them into the red zone. Moore had five carries during the drive, the biggest being an 18-yarder that took the ball to the 9.

Two plays later senior Grant Stuard muscled through a hole in the left side for an 11-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter. Jason Maples tacked on the point-after for a 7-0 Oak Ridge lead.

The War Eagles lead quickly faded as College Park fired right back with an eight-play drive that covered 81 yards in just under three minutes. Quarterback Jordan Turnquest, who accounted for 60 yards of the drive, scored from 36 yards out when he faked an option pitch and raced down the right side untouched. Carson Mohr’s kick deadlocked the score 7-7.

Stuard, the Player of the Game, was a force on both sides of the ball. In addition to his touchdown run, he had an interception, a fumble recovery and a 19-yard reception.

“He’s got that ability,” said Oak Ridge coach Dereck Rush. “He’s worked himself into shape. And we’re going to use him as much as we can. Our kids came out with a lot of enthusiasm in the second half.” Less than two minutes into the second half, Stuard turned the tide in the War Eagles’ favor with an interception at midfield.

Watch Player of the Game here.

Six plays later junior quarterback Reinard Britz made the interception count. Britz, who struggled early, was facing a fourth-and- 5 on the College Park 24. He took the snap, scrambled in the backfield and eluded the clutches of one defender before hitting Jelks in the end zone with a perfect strike to put the War Eagles on top 14-7.

About 90 seconds later Oak Ridge recovered another fumble, and on the ensuing play Johnson used a burst of pure speed to race 24 yards for another touchdown and a 21-7 lead.

College Park’s next possession ended with another fumble, and Britz lofted a 23-yard spiral to Durst in the end zone. Durst wrested the ball away from his defender for the game’s final score.

Those turnovers, six in total, were simply too much for College Park to overcome.

“We’re going to keep fighting, and we’ve got to get better,” said Cavaliers coach Richard Carson. “The number one thing is we’ve got to hang on to the football. No one at this level is good enough to survive [those turnovers.]”

Moore played a key role in the win with a team-leading 55 yards rushing. Turnquest ran for 87 yards to lead the Cavaliers and teammate Tucker Woody carried the ball 16 times for 55 yards.

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