The pressure of a season opener in front of a home crowd was off and the Oakville Senior High football team (1-1) settled in and brought home a 28-26 win on the road over the Marquette Mustangs Friday night.
Oakville head coach Arlee Conners told the Call he was excited about the win.
“It’s always good to get the first one down. It’s definitely a confidence builder, a morale booster and those guys needed it,” he said. “I felt last week they expected to come out and play a way better game than they played, going out 42-0 that allowed some doubt to creep in and it was good today to get that first drive on offense and go down and score. I think that was a big boost for them.
“We had some positive plays and it picked people up and that’s what we needed,” he added.
The Tigers started strong in the first quarter, really owning the field. They kicked off to start the first half, followed up with a quick three and out on defense, then marched into the end zone with 6:29 left on the clock for their first touchdown of the game and of the season. They followed up with another touchdown with 3:03 left on the clock, finishing the first quarter 14-0.
After the Tigers’ initial onslaught, things didn’t flow as easily. Marquette scored early in the second after the Tigers went for a fourth-down conversion and turned the ball over on downs near the 50-yard line.
After that, the momentum started swinging back and forth like a pendulum.
The outcome came down to the very end as Marquette took possession with less than a minute on the clock, but ended up missing a 30-yard field goal attempt with seven seconds remaining.
Scoring for Oakville was Moe LaGrand, who had two touchdowns, and Jaron Henderson, who also had two.
The Tigers’ attack, while balanced, was led by sophomore Andy Oliver, who stepped up in the absence of starting quarterback Javon Henderson. Henderson was side-lined in the season opener with a separated shoulder.
Oliver had 10 completions with 14 attempts for 201 yards, including two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. He also had three carries for 17 yards on the ground.
Conners was pleased to see some of the offensive potency he was expecting from his squad.
“We had people that stepped it up for us and made the plays” he said.
Defensively, the Tigers showed some strength but also the opportunity for improvement.
“They were solid and then they were giving up busted plays in the end. That’s what we don’t expect,” Conners said. “They are young guys and they will learn. That’s the good thing about it.”
Oakville will spend the week getting ready to host Parkway Friday. It will be a tough matchup, but the Tigers will be looking for some redemption on their home turf.
“They are always going to be a hard group to play against. They bring a lot of speed to you.” Conners said. “I think the good thing for us is that were at home. We know what we did last time we were at home and we are out to prove that we can still play.
“Anytime you play anybody in the conference you know it’s going to be tough. You just got to go out there and grind it out like we did tonight and give ourselves a chance.”