WEST POINT — The Oak Hill Academy football team finally found someone it could push around, and it just happened to be the other private school in Clay County.
After rain forced Oak Hill Academy to hold its homecoming ceremonies in its gym, the Raiders defeated Hebron Christian 14-0 Friday night in sopping conditions.
“I believe practice will be a little easier next week on the kids,” Oak Hill Academy coach Leroy Gregg said.
Oak Hill Academy (1-4) spent most of the night banging on Hebron on both sides of the ball. While the Class 2-A Raiders didn”t dominate the Class 1A Eagles, they kept them in check at every turn.
Each time Hebron Christian made a run on offense, Oak Hill Academy tightened its belt.
“They played with their weight up on their hand and pressed that line of scrimmage and did a really good job of taking that dive away,” Gregg said of his defensive line.
Offensively, Oak Hill Academy fed Hebron Christian (1-4) a steady diet of stretch and counter running plays and mixed in just enough passing to keep the Eagles guessing.
Hebron Christian”s offensive line also struggled against Oak Hill Academy. Senior safety J.D. Edwards led Hebron Christian with nine tackles.
“You don”t want your safety to lead the team in tackles,” Hebron coach Greg Watkins said. “When he does, you”re either creating holes or missing tackles up front. We did a good job of penetration, but we didn”t do a good job of controlling the line. On a wet field like that you can”t penetrate too deep into the backfield because you”re going to lose your footing when they cut.”
Hebron Christian received solid rushing performances from sophomore Marques Robinson (16 carries, 64 yards) and Edwards (eight, 40), but it could have been better if not for missed blocks that forced numerous plays to get blown up in the backfield.
“We missed some blocks. A key block here and a key block there and a penalty here and a penalty there,” Watkins said. “We”re not a 15- to 20-yard offense. We”re a 5- to 10-yard offense, and every once in a while we”ll bust one for 15. But when we miss a block it puts us in a hole.”
Both coaches refused to blame or to credit the weather for the outcome of the game. Sloppy conditions played a rolled in a handful of drops. Hebron Christian lost two fumbles and Oak Hill Academy lost three.
“We had a lot of turnovers tonight and they had a lot of turnovers,” Gregg said. “We really don”t turn the ball over very much, and I haven”t seen them turn it over very much. Both of us take care of the football.”
Oak Hill Academy tromped 56 yards in nine plays on its first drive, capped by senior quarterback Davis Clayton”s 6-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end John Robert Wilbourne.
Reid Posey”s extra point made it 7-0.
Turnovers were a factor in the second quarter. Hebron Christian took two fumbles away from Oak Hill Academy, but couldn”t capitalize.
The second fumble Hebron Christian recovered put it on its 37, but it fumbled the ball away on the next play.
Oak Hill Academy made the most of its chance after the fumbled exchange and closed the distance with a 21-yard scamper by junior running back Doss Miller (20 carries, 98 yards).
Miller”s run moved the Raiders to the Eagles” 8. Clayton sealed the deal with a play-action quarterback keeper to give Oak Hill Academy a 13-0 lead. Posey”s kick made it 14-0 with 1 minute, 38 seconds remaining in the first half.
There were more turnovers in the second half, but Oak Hill Academy”s passing game, which has been unreliable early in the season, kicked in to keep the ball moving. The Raiders gained 109 yards on four completions in the second half.
“I really wasn”t (surprised),” Gregg said. “On a night like this, if you can keep the ball decently dry, and the quarterback can lock up and throw, the offense has the advantage in the passing game.”
Oak Hill Academy finished with 131 passing yards and 178 rushing yards.
Hebron Christian had 24 passing yards on one completion and 124 yards rushing.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.