Marquette Mustangs trump Oakville Tigers in first-round district playoff

By Robert Chalupny

The Oakville Senior High School football team was one half away from a first-round district playoff win, but couldn’t hang on as the Tigers fell 16-14 to the Marquette Mustangs Friday night.

The Tigers, who lost to Marquette by just a point in the season opener, led 14-3 at halftime with touchdowns from Avion Stephenson and Derek Brown, but were held scoreless in the second half while allowing two touchdowns to conclude a season-ending, heartbreaking defeat.

Oakville head coach Arlee Conners told the Call it was disappointing not to get the win, but the effort was there by his players.

“The first half started out OK, and we were doing some things that we wanted to do,” Conners said. “… We just couldn’t make any plays in the second half. I guess the bottom line is they made plays when they needed to and we didn’t.

“I definitely feel we had an excellent effort. We just had too many different miscues and that’s hard to overcome.”

The Tigers struggled early in the season, picking up only one win in their first five games, but then got on a roll with consecutive wins over Fox, Mehlville and Northwest to start the second half. Oakville followed that up with a quality game against powerhouse St. Louis University High.

That gave the Tigers some momentum heading into last week’s game, but the Mustangs’ defense, which has been solid all year, helped tip the scale the other direction.

Conners told the Call that despite a 4-6 record, he believes his team accomplished a great deal during the 2012 season.

“Record-wise it didn’t show how much we improved overall, but I think they definitely accomplished a lot,” he said. “I wish we could have had more wins but that’s every year.

“But I think they did a lot and we have a good group of kids coming back, so I feel good about what we have coming back.”