PDT Sports Writer
OAK HILL — It may not have been the repeat of last year’s 20-19 triple overtime thriller, but Friday’s rematch between Minford and Oak Hill at Davis Stadium still provided plenty of excitement for fans of both squads.
But a strong second half in which the Falcons held the Oaks to 101 yards of total offense on Homecoming night proved to be the difference in a 30-16 road win for Minford coach’s Brent Daniels’ squad.
“The bottom line was that in the first half, we came out flat and we did not do very sound things fundamentally on defense and it cost us,” Daniels said. “Even on offense, we did some things (that were) not sound that we’re capable of doing but we came in, made some adjustments in the third and fourth quarters and we talked with the kids. It’s about the mental aspect, if we don’t come out to play, we’re going to take a loss.”
Zach Justice commenced the scoring when his plunge into the end zone from a yard out gave the Falcons the early 7-0 lead. The play capped off Minford’s initial drive of the contest by chewing up 84 yards on 10 plays.
The Oaks responded late in the quarter when Garrin Stiltner found Jordon Fisher for a 78-yard pitch-and-catch. Without the services of Matthew Gilliland for place kicking purposes, Oak Hill was forced to go for the 2-point conversion and converted when Stiltner found a diving Willy Harris.
It was the second big play the Falcons gave up in the opening stanza. Stiltner connected with Fisher on the first pass play off the contest for 44 yards but the Oaks could not find a way to drive through the final 8 yards for a score.
“In the first drive, we came out and tested the waters and one of the things we saw right off the bat was that we hit a hitch route, (broke) a tackle, went down the field and ended up getting penalty on top of it,” Oak Hill coach Nathan Dugan said. “We looked to exploit what we thought were some pretty favorable matchups with our wide receivers.”
Minford turned the ball over on its next two possessions, the latter coming when Stiltner intercepted his counterpart, Cody Stapleton, at the Falcon 33 and returned it to the 6. Four plays later, Stiltner found Fisher again, this time from 12 yards. The lead was 16-10 when Stiltner connected with Jonathon Harris on a 2-point pass play.
Traditionally a run-oriented team, Dugan switched to a more pass-centered offense for this week’s contest.
“When we went into this week, we knew that we were going to have a tough time running the ball,” Dugan said. “We did a few things to try to make it easier on ourselves… I thought we ran it efficiently but whenever you do something like that, you expect mistakes to happen.”
A 22-yard field goal from Matt Joyce with 3:26 left in the half cut the Minford deficit to 16-10, a score that stood through the intermission.
Just as they had done to start the game, the Falcons started the second half with a touchdown, this time was a 4-yard rushing tally by Nathan Compton. He finished with five totes for 19 yards.
Just as Minford had done in the first half, the Oaks turned the pigskin over on their next two possessions. Although he liked what he witnessed from his offense, Dugan admitted there were plenty of miscues with how his team operated using a brand new scheme.
Levi Jenkins’ 5-yard run bumped the lead to 23-16 with 5:10 remaining in regulation but Matt Joyce’s kick sailed wide left, opening the door for Oak Hill. However, the Oaks turned the ball over on downs on their next possession and Jenkins put the game out of reach with 1:04 to go thanks to an 8-yard scamper.
“We finally got it in our minds that we needed to play some football and we did that in the second half,” Daniels said.
Dugan admitted it was a back breaker.
“Ultimately I think the biggest thing in the second half was that we just didn’t have the ball,” Dugan said. “They were able to maintain a lot of possession. We did a good job of getting to the point of attack, we just weren’t able to finish off tackles.”
Jeknins and Justice combined for 339 yards rushing on 46 carries.
“I’m just proud of the kids on offense, they came together as a unit and we stopped the silly mistakes,” Daniels said. “…We acted like the typical football team that I know that I have. It’s good to deal with adversity every once in a while, we haven’t dealt with it too much right now and we need a little bit of adversity to deal with to see how the kids are going to react and step up.”
A week after sustaining a stinger against Portsmouth, Austin Carter was held out of the contest for precautionary reasons.
“He could’ve went tonight but I made the final decision not to take that chance,” Daniels said.
Stiltner was 15-0f-29 passing for 220 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception.
Divisional play starts for both clubs next week as the Falcons are on the road for the third week in a row as they visit West for the SOC II opener. Oak Hill entertains East in the first SOC I game for both squads.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.
M 7 3 7 13 — 30
OH 8 8 0 0 — 16
M — Justice 1 run (Joyce kick) 7:14
OH — Fisher 78 pass from Stiltner (Harris pass from Stiltner) 1:14
OH — Fisher 12 pass from Stiltner (Harrison pass from Stiltner) 7:55
M — Joyce 22 FG 3:26
M — Compton 4 run (Joyce kick) 9:44
M — Jenkins 5 run (kick missed) 5:10
M — Jenkins 8 run (Joyce kick) 1:04
First Downs 20 8
Rush Att.-Yds. 58-382 18-51
Pass Att-Comp.-Int. 10-6-1 29-15-1
Pass Yds. 45 220
Total Yds. 427-271
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Turnovers 2 2
Penalties-Yds. 8-76 7-49.5
Punts-Avg. 1-32 4-35.3
RUSHING: M — Justice 18-191, Jenkins 28-148, Stapleton 7-24, Compton 5-19; OH — Waugh 3-17, Coy 2-11, Stiltner 7-7, Harris 6-6.
PASSING: M — Stapleton 6-10-1 45; OH — Stiltner 15-29-1 220.
RECEIVING: M — Clark 2-24, Justice 1-10, Jenkins 1-6, White 1-6, Hall 1-1; OH —Fisher 5-141, Starr 1-24, Burdine 4-23, Swann 2-20, Harrison 3-13.
Records — Minford 5-0; Oak Hill 4-1.