by Dale Krisle, tnhighschoolfootball.com
The annual Blackman-Oakland rivalry game has become one of the most anticipated games of the midstate high school football calendar. An impressive display of future Division I football players dot both rosters and the game lived up to its physical reputation. A downpour a few hours before kickoff left a few areas of standing water on the field but little rain fell during the game and did not seem to affect the outcome.
The Oakland Patriot mantra is dominate the line of scrimmage, run the ball, and play suffocating defense. Those goals were accomplished in a great start to the game for the Patriots. Blackman only ran three offensive plays in a first quarter sandwiched by long Oakland scoring drives. The Patriot offensive line is one of the most physical units around and they pounded against the Blaze defenders all game to make space for running backs Xavier Myers and Mookie Wilson. After an early field goal to go up 3-0, Xavier Myers powered into the endzone from four yards out to put the Patriots up 10-0. The touchdown was set up by a long punt return from Woodi Washington and a powerful run down to the 4 yard line from Wilson.
Blackman was held in check on their first three possessions but finally hit on a big play late in the 2nd quarter to get back into the game. Running back Ta’micus Napier is a homerun threat with every handoff and he broke through the line for a 35 yard rushing touchdown with 4:13 left to go in the 2nd quarter to narrow the gap to 10-7 Oakland. Unfortunately for the Blaze, that was enough time for Oakland to mount another scoring drive before the break. Blackman had slowly been creeping defenders closer to the line of scrimmage to stop the run game all half. Patriot QB Brevin Linnell took advantage of this by going overtop of the defenders on passes to BJ Connard and Mookie Wilson to quickly move the ball down to the Blackman one yard line. Myers would convert from here for his second rushing touchdown of the night to put the Oakland lead at 17-7 at halftime.
Photos from Friday night’s game. Photos by Wes Talley.