HS Football: Oak Ridge defense stands tall in season-opening win
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Less than four minutes remained in Saturday night’s game between Oak Ridge and Clear Creek when War Eagles RB Alton McCaskill made the play of the night to give Oak Ridge an 18-7 lead, securing the first victory of the season for Coach Mark Schmid’s team.
After a huge goal line stand by the War Eagles defense resulted in a fumble recovery by DL Jacob Harris, McCaskill turned what was expected to be a short gain to avoid a safety into a game-clinching 99-yard touchdown run. McCaskill finished with over 200 yards, earning himself Player of the Game recognition.
Saturday’s game didn’t light up the scoreboard, but it was a close, hard-fought battle like it was expected to be with two evenly matched teams. Both teams were determined to establish control of the running game, but both defenses did a good job of not letting either side get too explosive on the ground.
Oak Ridge opened the scoring with four minutes remaining in the first quarter when QB Nick Osborne connected with WR Scott Hickey for a 24-yard touchdown pass. After DL JaQuavius Pierce’s sack to end the quarter, Oak Ridge looked to be in control. However, a fumble to start Quarter two opened the door for Clear Creek to get back in the game. Wildcats RB Jeremiah Crum scored from eight yards out to tie the game at seven. The War Eagles K Fernando Cedillo added a field goal before the end of the half to retake the lead at 10-7.
The way Oak Ridge was stepping up on defense, 10 points might have been enough to start the season 1-0. Clear Creek was able to move the ball effectively at times in the second half, but Oak Ridge always found a way to get off the field on defense. Besides the goal-line stand, the best chance of the night for Clear Creek came late in the third. The Wildcats promising drive fell flat after the War Eagles tightened up to force a field goal that ended up wide left to get Oak Ridge out of a jam.
It was a strong day on defense for the War Eagles that resulted in the school’s first season-opening win since 2017. Next week, Oak Ridge will attempt to start 2-0 since 2017 when they travel to Tully Stadium to take on the Stratford Spartans on Thursday, October 1.
Saturday’s game was a Woodlands Online Livestream sponsored by Memorial Hermann The Woodlands and Team Sinisi Real Estate.