Note: This story was last updated at 7 p.m.
KARNS—The Oak Ridge Wildcats rushed for more than 500 yards, and senior running back T.J. Allison scored four touchdowns in a 56-14 win at Karns on Friday.
With 514 yards rushing, it was the most productive running game for the Wildcats (6-1, 3-1 Region 3-5A) this season. Their previous high was 270 yards rushing against Sevier County on Thursday, September 24.
For the first time this year, the Wildcats had two runners with more than 100 yards rushing. Allison had 171 yards on 12 carries and four touchdowns, and freshman Jordan Graham, who went out with an ankle injury in the third quarter, had 163 yards on three carries.
Graham, who had a breakout performance against Lenoir City two weeks ago, has now picked up more than 100 yards in each of his last three games.
Friday was the least productive game through the air for the Wildcats. The Beavers held Oak Ridge to 75 yards passing, and for the first time this season, standout junior receiver Tee Higgins (two catches, 29 yards) did not score a touchdown. Higgins, a University of Tennessee commitment, was covered much of the night by senior Devin Harper, an Oklahoma State commitment who led Karns (1-5, 0-3) in rushing.
Oak Ridge got off to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter against the Beavers on Friday, scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions and adding another on their fourth drive. Karns didn’t score until late in the second quarter, and Oak Ridge led at halftime 28-7.
Senior Davon Middleton, who had one of the biggest defensive hits on Harper, scored first for Oak Ridge on a six-yard touchdown run at the end of a four-play, 75-yard opening drive. He finished with 69 yards on five carries.
Allison followed with a 53-yard TD run on the second three-play drive and a 52-yard run on the first play of the Wildcats’ fourth possession. Allison broke tackles in the center of the field on both plays, giving Oak Ridge a two-touchdown lead midway through the first quarter and a 21-0 lead near the end of the first quarter.
Junior Jaret Miner gave the Wildcats a 28-0 lead when he ran seven yards into the left corner of the end zone at 4:14 in the second quarter.
The Beavers scored late in the first half when senior Jordan Coffin (four catches, 88 yards) caught a 25-yard pass from quarterback Greg Tye at the right pylon to narrow the lead to 28-7 with 2:06 remaining.
Both teams doubled their offensive output in the second half, with the Wildcats scoring four more touchdowns and the Beavers adding one.
Oak Ridge scored quickly in the third quarter when senior Gavin Warrington ran straight ahead from one yard out on a three-play drive to give the Wildcats a 35-7 lead less than two minutes into the second half.
But Karns answered with an 80-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown run by Harper, who led the Beavers with 103 yards on 23 carries.
But Oak Ridge scored three more times, once on a one-yard carry by Allison midway through the third quarter and again on a nine-yard pass from senior quarterback Jordan Dunbar to Allison early in the fourth, when Allison dove, hands outstretched, just inside the left pylon. It was the only passing score for the Wildcats on a wet, rainy Friday night.
The final score for Oak Ridge came on a one-yard run by sophomore Christian Bivens with 1:03 remaining.
The Wildcats had a season-high 18 penalties for 168 yards on Friday. That compared to three penalties for 11 yards for Karns. Oak Ridge Coach Joe Gaddis wasn’t pleased.
“We had too many penalties,” Gaddis said. “That’s something we cannot have…That was something we’ve got to correct.”
Fans and players objected when they thought Karns should have been penalized for a horse-collar tackle on Graham midway through the third quarter as he raced from the Oak Ridge 26 downfield to near the Karns end zone. Graham came out injured and did not return.
A few plays later, Karns and Oak Ridge traded unsportsmanlike conduct calls, and Gaddis huddled with his players to tell them to not say anything, “just play the game,” and let the officials do their job.
The Oak Ridge defense, which has played well all year, had two more interceptions this week, with Warrington and junior linebacker Kyndall Clark both picking off Tye, who was 8-of-22 for 107 yards. Warrington, a safety, and Clark each also had interceptions last week against Sevier County.
Senior quarterback Logan Fadnek threw one interception for Oak Ridge and Allison fumbled once, but neither the Wildcats nor Karns were able to convert any turnovers into a score.
Gaddis said Graham turned his ankle but will be okay, although his status wasn’t immediately clear on Friday night.
The Oak Ridge offense ran hard and frequently broke tackles at Karns, often picking up extra yards on second and third efforts after plays appeared dead.
Gaddis said the Wildcats missed a few tackles on Harper “going sideways,” but the coach was pleased overall.
The Wildcats play at home against McMinn County (3-2, 2-1 Region 4-Class 5A) on Friday, October 9.
See Julio Culiat photos of the Oak Ridge-Karns game here.
See preliminary stats by Mark Haste here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
- Davon Middleton—six-yard run at 9:20 in the first quarter (Brandon Nickle kick)
- T.J. Allison—53-yard run at 4:52 in the first quarter (Nickle kick)
- Allison—52-yard run at 0:13 in the first quarter (Nickle kick)
- Jaret Miner—seven-yard run at 4:14 in the second quarter (Nickle kick)
- Jordan Coffin—25-yard pass from Greg Tye at 2:06 in the second quarter (Sam Frazier kick)
- Gavin Warrington—one-yard run at 10:05 in the third quarter (Nickle kick)
- Devin Harper—13-yard run at 6:34 in the third quarter (Frazier kick)
- Allison—one-yard run at 5:43 in the third quarter (Nickle kick)
- Allison—nine-yard pass from Jordan Dunbar at 10:24 in the fourth quarter (Noah Calhoun kick)
- Christian Bivens—one-yard run at 1:03 in the fourth quarter (Calhoun kick)
Copyright 2015 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.