Oakman closes in on region title
by W. Brian Hale
Oct 13, 2012 | 1110 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OAKMAN — The Oakman Wildcats are one step closer to their first region championship since 2003. Following Friday night’s thrilling 21-14 victory over the Hale County Wildcats, Oakman (6-1, 5-0) locked up its second consecutive playoff appearance, as well as the top spot in the Class 2A, Region 4 standings as the only remaining undefeated team.

Similar to last week’s win over Sulligent, Oakman turned to its defense in key moments throughout the contest, forcing turnovers and make crucial fourth-down stops to hold a Hale County offense — which has scored over 40 points in their previous three region matchups — to just one offensive touchdown and 172 yards total yards.

“For the past two weeks, we haven’t been as consistent on offense as we need to be, but in both games our defense has stepped up and played at a great level,” Oakman coach Mark Hastings said of the win. “For us to be undefeated in our region, going to the playoffs for the second year and being victorious over quality teams like Hale County is a great testament to the hard work of our coaches and the young men on our team.”

Oakman’s defensive performance was led by Don Tyler Jackson, who recorded 15 tackles with three tackles for a loss. As a team, Oakman had seven total tackles for a loss and forced four Hale County turnovers.

Jase Trotter continued his season-long clutch offensive play, rolling up 215 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, with 138 coming through the air and 77 yards on the ground. His top receiving target was Quinton Harris, who hauled in four passes for 88 yards with a touchdown.

After a scoreless first quarter, Oakman put the first points on the scoreboard at the beginning of the second quarter on an 8-play, 39-yard drive, with Trotter connecting on a 21-yard touchdown strike to Eiljah Farley. Following the successful extra point kick, Oakman took a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing kick off, Kason Madden would scoop up a Hale County fumble, leading to a 36-yard touchdown pass from Trotter to Harris. After the missed extra point kick, Oakman extended their lead to 13-0.

Hale County would score the first points of the game prior to halftime on a 14-yard Oakman fumble return to close the lead to 13-7.

After recovering the onside kick to start the second half, Hale County took a 14-13 lead after a 46-yard, 8-play drive.

Facing a crucial fourth and one on the 12-yard line, Reilly Williams would make a big stop at the line of scrimmage for the Oakman defense, leading to a 4-play, 78 yard drive, with Trotter running the ball in from one yard out. Harris scrambled into the endzone for the two-point conversion to re-establish the lead for Oakman, 21-14.

Two drive-ending interceptions would clinch the victory for Oakman in the fourth quarter — with Purvis Coger grabbing his sixth pick of the year and Caleb Woods intercepting a deflected pass in the final minute of the game.

The Oakman victory, coupled with Aliceville’s win over R.C. Hatch, sets up the Region 4 championship game next week in Aliceville. The Yellow Jackets (4-3, 4-1) only region loss of the season came to Lamar County last week, who Oakman defeated 41-24 in week two.