WEST POINT — The Oak Hill Academy football team held its own against Leake Academy on Friday night, trailing by 12 points at halftime.
But the Rebels exploded in the third quarter to quell any thoughts of a Raider comeback and went on to a 38-7 victory.
“We came out and played with a sense of urgency,” said Leake Academy coach Billy Pickens, who felt his team was satisfied with a two-touchdown lead. “That”s what we talked about at halftime, coming out with urgency and the impact play.”
The impact play turned out to be an off-tackle run to the left that netted the Rebels 208 yards and four touchdowns on five plays.
Senior running back Caleb Burns and sophomore back Brad Hunter already had one touchdown apiece in the first half, but both left their stamp on the third quarter.
Burns tallied three touchdowns and 156 yards, while Hunter had a 53-yard touchdown run on his only carry of the third quarter.
“We”ve got some depth in the backfield and some depth on the line,” Pickens said. “We”re very blessed and fortunate to have that.”
The Rebels” fortune was the Raiders” bad luck.
Oak Hill Academy (0-3) held Leake Academy (3-0) to 200 total yards in the first half and moved the ball well enough to put more points on the scoreboard if not for a pair of lost fumbles in the first quarter.
In addition to allowing more than 200 yards and 26 points in the third quarter, the Raiders lost their leading rusher, senior Jake Orman, to a suspected shoulder separation in the third quarter.
Oak Hill Academy coach Leroy Gregg had already replaced one of his starting offensive linemen prior to the Leake Academy game and said more changes likely will be in store.
“I think we actually went backwards on the line tonight,” Gregg said of his line”s progress.
Defensively, Gregg said his ends and linebackers held up, but the defense as a whole must flow to the ball quicker.
“We did not run to the football, and that”s one of the reasons they had those long touchdowns,” Gregg said. “If they break the line of scrimmage, they”re making long runs.”
Defensive highlights were scarce for the Raiders, but senior Sam Rice intercepted a Grant Wilson pass in the first quarter and junior Jacob Faulkner caused a fumble in the fourth quarter that Oak Hill Academy recovered to begin its lone scoring drive.
Oak Hill drove the ball from its 13 to the Rebels” 16, where senior quarterback Davis Clayton found sophomore receiver Clay Henley in the end zone.
Junior running back Doss Miller (20 carries, 85 yards) carried the load for the Raiders in the second half after Orman left the game.
Oak Hill Academy had 146 rushing yards and 39 yards passing.
Leake Academy racked up 411 yards on the ground and 31 through the air.
Oak Hill Academy will regroup in anticipation of playing host to cross-county Hebron Christian on Friday, while Leake Academy will play host to Manchester Academy.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.