Curry rallies late to beat ’Cats

Yellow Jackets outscore No. 10 Oakman 17-0 in fourth quarter

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 9/1/18

CURRY — The Curry Yellow Jackets entered the fourth quarter trailing by a big margin for the second-consecutive week — 14-0 — to the visiting Oakman Wildcats.

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Curry rallies late to beat ’Cats

Yellow Jackets outscore No. 10 Oakman 17-0 in fourth quarter

Posted

CURRY — The Curry Yellow Jackets entered the fourth quarter trailing by a big margin for the second-consecutive week — 14-0 — to the visiting Oakman Wildcats.

On Friday, however, the Yellow Jackets would not come up short in the comeback effort, topping the Wildcats 17-14 at Hudson-O'Rear Stadium.

Oakman held the edge in total yardage, 212 to 188, but were haunted by mistakes in the form of three turnovers and nine penalties.

Christian Hubbard led the Wildcats with 160 all-purpose yards — rushing 12 times for 97 yards with one touchdown and catching four passes for 63 yards. Before suffering an injury, Malachi Bridges went 3 for 5 passing for 43 yards and rushed four times for 22 yards with a touchdown.

Making his first career start for the Yellow Jackets, Luke Smith was 13 of 25 passing for 103 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His top target was Colton Aaron with seven catches for 75 yards with a touchdown. Colton Burton led in rushing with 23 carries for 86 yards with a touchdown.

Curry head coach Philip Smith said the his team's effort in the comeback and its significance for the program makes the victory a favorite in his coaching career.

"This was a situation where no one gave us a chance except some of our fans and team. Our guys have listened to it for so long, but I've told them that hard work and dedication will eventually pay off," Smith said. "We had guys step up and want this win — it showed in the way they played. To see the smiles on their faces and what it means to them and our program, it's an unbelievable feeling. It makes all those hot days in the summer and the work you do in the offseason worth it."

Oakman scored on the first possession of the game — three plays for 60 yards, with Bridges running for the touchdown on a 35-yard rush. Andrew Wood connected on the extra point for the 7-0 advantage.

Midway through the second quarter, the Wildcats struck again on a 40-yard run by Hubbard, pushing Oakman further ahead, 14-0.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Curry's Levi Tidwell recovered an Oakman fumble and returned it to the Wildcats' 30-yard line. The Yellow Jackets drove to the one-yard line, but were turned away on a goal line stand by the Oakman defense.

The defensive stand by Oakman ultimately turned into a blessing in disguise for Curry. On the ensuing play, Hubbard was tackled in the endzone for a safety, cutting the lead to 14-2.

Following the shortened kickoff on the safety, the Yellow Jackets mounted a seven-play, 25-yard drive, ending with a 10-yard touchdown strike from Smith to Aaron. Tidwell connected on the extra point to pull Curry within five points, 14-9.

On Oakman's next offensive series, Curry's Bradley Swindle intercepted a pass and returned it to the Wildcats' 30 yard line. Seven plays later, Burton ran to the endzone from three yards-out. Burton ran for the two-point conversion to give the Yellow Jackets the 17-14 win.

"At halftime, we made some adjustments on offense. I felt there were things we had missed and once we corrected those areas, things moved in our direction," Smith said. "Our offensive line stepped-up, our defensive play was great and we had outstanding plays from Luke, Colton Burton and Colton Aaron. Hopefully we can build on what we were able to do in the second half, keep rolling and see what happens."

Curry is off next week before playing at Oak Grove on Sept. 14. Oakman travels to Holt next week.