Oakman set for top 10 battle vs. Pickens County

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 9/16/16

OAKMAN — For the sixth-ranked Oakman Wildcats (3-0), tonight’s match-up with the Class 1A, third-ranked Pickens County Tornadoes presents a perfect test to show how playoff-ready the program is at the midway point in the season.

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Oakman set for top 10 battle vs. Pickens County

Posted

OAKMAN — For the sixth-ranked Oakman Wildcats (3-0), tonight’s match-up with the Class 1A, third-ranked Pickens County Tornadoes presents a perfect test to show how playoff-ready the program is at the midway point in the season.

The clash with the Tornadoes is one of four challenging games the Wildcats will endure in the coming weeks, both in region and non-region play.

Through their first four contests this year, the Wildcats have performed well, averaging over 40 points a game and 10 points on defense.

Jon Avery has completed 62 percent of his passes for 363 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Johnny Lyles has caught seven passes for 135 yards with a touchdown, while Marqell Oliver has 93 yards on two catches with a touchdown.

On the ground, Garrett Martin has run for 460 yards on 53 carries with six touchdowns, while Nathan Gilbreath 23 carries for 198 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Issac Robertson leads the team with 27 tackles, four tackles for a loss and two sacks, while Adam Ingram has 18 tackles, three tackles for a loss and three sacks. Oliver has contributed three interceptions.

“Our young guys still have some learning to do, which of course will come over the course of the season, but their development is going to be critical for us the deeper we get into the year,” head coach Mark Hastings said. “Our veterans have performed really well. They’re also doing a good job in helping the younger players learn the game and their role on the team. There’s still room for growth and we’ll certainly be tested in the coming weeks.”

The Tornadoes have performed at an outstanding level to start the season. In its first three games, outscoring the opposition 160-7. The Tornadoes gave up their only touchdown on the season in a region game to Marion County last week in a region rout, 49-7.

“Pickens County is an excellent team. They have great skill players, a big, physical line and they execute well,” Hastings said. “It’s going to be a big game. It will be a playoff-like atmosphere and games like this one is what you want you kids exposed to.”

Pickens County leads the overall series, 10-1 and won the last meeting, 34-14, in 2007.