Tigers fall to Eureka; will face SLUH Friday

By ROBERT CHALUPNY

The Oakville Senior High School football team suffered a pair of losses Friday night when the Tigers couldn’t clinch the district title over Eureka and lost their star receiver heading into the playoffs.

Oakville’s Javon Henderson was helped off the field after an ankle injury midway through the first quarter. The Wildcats went on to defeat Oakville 47-21.

Tigers head coach Arlee Conners told the Call losing his receiver was a tough blow.

“We don’t know how he’s doing really. We are waiting to hear what the doctor says and we might get him an MRI, but it’s unfortunate,” Conners said. “He’s a big-play receiver … That hurts.”

Eureka started the scoring on its opening drive with a 4-yard run by Spencer Stien at 10:26. Aaron Schnurbusch continued the scoring for the Wildcats on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Seth Pratt at 4:13 in the first quarter.

Eureka kept piling it on in the second quarter with a touchdown by Zach Sutter and then Stein again before Oakville tallied its first. Oakville’s Jaron Henderson scored his eighth touchdown of the season on a pass from from quarterback Andy Oliver with 2:47 left in the half.

But the Wildcats’ Schnurbusch added another with 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter, sending the Tigers into the locker room trailing 36-7.

After Eureka brought in one more touchdown from Stein early in the second half, Oakville tried to rally and scored two consecutive touchdowns from Sam Nelm and Oliver. But it was too little, too late.

Regarding Tigers’ performance in the second half, Conners told the Call he was trying to give his players a goal.

“We had to find something we could work toward and I thought we did,” he said. “I would say it’s disappointing. We had a real key injury early in the game. That really put a damper on everything we tried to do.”

Oliver threw for 22 completions in 34 attempts for 263 yards in the contest.

“Offensively, we weren’t doing a whole lot. I mean we were doing some, but defensively we never got them off the field,” Conners said. “Our defense just stayed out there and Eureka just kept getting first downs. They ran the ball, threw the ball — pretty much whatever they wanted to do to us today, they pretty much did it.”

The 5-5 Tigers, with the loss of their star receiver and maybe a little bit of confidence, have a hard road ahead as they will travel to 7-3 SLUH, an equally tough opponent if not more so, for the sectional game Friday.

Conners told the Call he will assess the situation and develop a plan.

“We just got to go and look at things we did well today and things that we didn’t do so well, and see what personnel we’ll be working with next week,” he said. “And based on all that, develop a game plan.”