Tigers one victory away from state playoff berth

Oakville High School Tigers survive scary fourth quarter.

By MARK McNAMARA

A collapse is only a collapse if the entity crumbles, but the Oakville Tigers football team remains whole and one victory against a winless team away from a state playoff berth.

The 2-6 Tigers surrendered a field goal and a safety in the fourth quarter against Fox High School (0-7) Friday, but their seven-point lead was enough to give them a 21-19 win in their first Class 6 District 1 game of the year.

“It’s a whole new season. You’re 1-0. You get a chance to move forward. You have a game next week and if you win, you have yourself a playoff game and who knows what can happen?” said Oakville head coach Arlee Conners about what he told his team after the win.

The Tigers play at 7 p.m. Friday at Northwest High School (0-8). With Eureka High School’s (7-1) win over Northwest last Friday, Oakville will own one of the two playoff spots reserved for District 1 if it beats Northwest.

“We need a win,” Oakville senior Brett Carrigan said. “Nobody’s an easy win or anything. They don’t have the best record, but neither do we. It’s probably going to be a dogfight.”

The 5-foot-9-inch Carrigan put up a fight against the Fox Warriors with an interception, a sack, a fumble recovery and a reception that kept the Tigers moving downfield on their first possession of the game.

The Tigers scored on that possession to take a 7-0 lead.

“I just realized it was my last game here, so I had to step it up. I wanted to make plays and hopefully I’ll keep making big plays as we go through districts,” Carrigan said.

Fox scored the next two touchdowns of the game to take a 14-7 lead. The scores followed a fumble and a missed field goal by Oakville. Oakville sophomore backup quarterback Brendan Jost threw an interception on Oakville’s ensuing drive, but a series of possibly season-changing plays followed.

Fox fumbled on the very next play and Oakville senior lineman Alex Brewer recovered for Oakville with 47 seconds left in the first half. On Oakville’s third play of the drive, junior quarterback Javon Henderson threw a 41-yard pass high into the air at the halftime horn and the Tigers watched junior wide receiver Jaron Henderson win the battle with a Fox defender to make the score 14-13 at halftime.

“Before halftime, people were looking down,” Carrigan said. “That was a big play in the game. He totally (NFL receiver Randy) ‘Mossed’ that kid. Everybody was going crazy. We were fired up and we knew we were going to win the game after that catch.”

Oakville put together a 69-yard drive capped by a three-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion run by senior running back Darrion Moore to take a 21-14 lead with 1:14 left in the third quarter and then survived a scary fourth quarter.

Moore scored two touchdowns, and rushed 20 times for 133 yards.

The Tigers sealed the win when Javon Henderson intercepted Fox quarterback Daylon Harper with 1:42 left. It was their first win at home and their third consecutive district win against the Warriors.