FOOTBALL: Oxford sacks revenge on Rochester Adams
BY DAN STICKRADT
OXFORD — It was 11 months ago when Rochester Adams stunned then-state-ranked Oxford in a Division 2 pre-district, 26-20.
The Wildcats remembered that blow.
Oxford gained its sweet measure of revenge Friday, scoring 28 points over the final three quarters to sack visiting Adams with a 28-16 OAA White Division defeat.
The Wildcats (3-2, 3-1) made clutch plays on both ends of the field to stay in the OAA-White title hunt.
“We’re still in it,” winked veteran Oxford coach Bud Rowley, whose team is 1-1 the previous two weeks in overtime games.
Despite Oxford missing two key running backs, Zach Hadorn scored three touchdowns as the Wildcats outgained Adams 213-152 on the ground.
“Myself and Liam Logan worked as hard as we could and the (offensive line) was the difference,” offered Hadorn, whose Wildcats controlled the clock in the second half. “We wanted to beat Adams ever since they got us here last season. That was our focus all week long.”
Hadorn had 11 rushes for 53 yards, Logan rushed for 101 yards on 25 carries and quarterback Glacier Wallington finished 6-for-11 passing for 55 yards and rushed five times for 46 more yards.
Adams drove the opening kickoff of the third quarter down to the Oxford 1. The Wildcats stopped the Highlanders on four consecutive plays with 5:50 left in the third quarter to gain the ball back.
That proved to be a turning point for the Wildcats.
“That stop was huge,” admitted Rowley. “This was a great team win with everybody contributing. That’s how we’ll win football games this year. We have everybody stepping up, the defensive line, the offensive line, the running backs — everybody.”
Gaining the ball on its own 1, Oxford put together a 15-play drive that was capped by Hadorn’s 24-yard run down the middle of the field that put the Wildcats up for good at 14-10 with 11:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Oxford caused a fumble on the Adams 24 on the very next play from scrimmage of the contest and four more plays later, Hadorn plunged into the end zone with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter for a 21-10 advantage.
Adams backup quarterback Jeremy Ball got the Highlanders back into the contest when he found a streaking Ben Hart open near midfield and Hart went on for a 79-yard catch and run with 4:18 to play. The conversion failed and Adams had a turnover and gave the ball over on downs during its final two possessions of the contest.
Oxford iced the game late after Brennen Orr picked off a Ball pass and returned it to the Adams 5. Two plays later, Hadorn cashed in for his third touchdown with 2:05 remaining.
Adams (1-4, 1-3) is off to worst start since beginning 0-4 in 1996, the last season the Highlanders failed to make the playoffs. Adams’ streak at 15 straight postseason appearances — the longest active streak in Oakland County — is in serious jeopardy.
“That’s the furthest thing from my mind,” said Adams coach Tony Annese.
“In my 10 years at Adams, when the game was on the line we always had players that could step up and make plays,” continued Annese. “That’s been the (story) of our season. We don’t make the plays when we have to. We had first and goal on their one and we don’t score. In the past, we would have scored in that situation.”
Matt Sokol had 104 rushing yards on 22 for Adams. Sokol was only 4-for-5 passing for 41 yards and Ball finished 1-for-8 for 79 yards.
Adams scored first with 11:47 left in the second quarter when Quinton Mack drilled a 28-yard field goal.
The Highlanders recovered a fumble on the Oxford 36 and Danny Zhu scooped up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone for a 10-0 Adams lead with 5:44 left in the half.
Oxford finally climbed back into the contest when Wallington scored on a 30-yard sprint 1:20 before the break. Josh Nelson made all four extra points for the Wildcats.
ROCHESTER ADAMS 16
SCORE BY QUARTERS
OX 0 7 0 21 28
RA 3 7 0 7 16
RA: Quinton Mack 28-yard field goal (11:47 2nd)
RA: Danny Zhu 36-yard interception return (Mack kick) (5:44)
OX: Glacier Wallington 30-yard run (Josh Nelson kick) (1:20)
OX: Zach Hardorn 24-yard run (Josh Nelson kick) (11:10)
OX: Hadorn 5-yard run (Nelson kick) (9:22)
RA: Ben Hart 79 pass from Jeremy Ball (4:18)
OX: Hadorn 1-yard run (Nelson kick) (2:05)
RECORDS — Oxford 3-2, 3-1 OAA White Division; Rochester Adams 1-4, 1-3.
(Dan Stickradt is Senior Editor for Digital Daily www.northoaklandsports.com and The Real Deal sports and coupons magazine, as well as a freelance writer for multiple media outlets, including State Champs! High School Sports Show website. He is a 20-year veteran sports journalist based in Oakland County, Mich. He can be reached by email at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @LocalSportsFans.)