Nine Oak Ridge Wildcats scored in a 49-3 rout of Karns in the homecoming football game on Blankenship Field on Friday.
Seven different Wildcats scored touchdowns, and two kickers added extra points.
It was the third region win for Oak Ridge (5-2, 3-0 Region 3-5A) and the third straight win for the Wildcats.
The three remaining regular-season games are all region games:
- Clinton (2-4, 0-2) at home on Friday, October 13;
- at Powell (5-2, 2-2) on Friday, October 20; and
- at Fulton (5-1, 2-0) on Friday, October 27.
The Wildcats do not play this coming week.
Oak Ridge finished with a season-high 324 yards rushing on 33 carries and five touchdowns on Friday. The previous high was 112 yards rushing against Farragut on September 8. That was the only other time this season that the Wildcats have had more than 100 yards rushing in a game.
For the first time this season, Oak Ridge had a player rush for 100 yards. That was sophomore Tyrell Romano, who finished with 100 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Senior Carter Alexander had 70 yards total, with almost all of that on a 69-yard carry.
Romano also had the previous season high, 46 yards against Hardin Valley during the season-opener on Friday, August 18.
Oak Ridge Coach Joe Gaddis said the offensive line opened up some holes against Karns this Friday, and it was the best game up front so far. The Wildcats’ offensive line controlled the Beavers’ defensive line, something Oak Ridge hadn’t done so far this season, Gaddis said. To a degree, the offensive line, which had little experience to start the year, “came of age,” Gaddis said.
“They have had to learn on the run,” he said.
The Wildcats had more than twice as many total yards on offense as the Beavers (2-5, 0-4), 523 to 184. That was somewhat of a reversal of the total yards at Farragut, when the Admirals had 540 yards compared to 236 for the Wildcats.
Oak Ridge scored on each of its first four drives against Karns on Friday, taking a 28-0 lead by midway through the second quarter.
Senior quarterback Johnny Stewart did well on the triple option, the give, the pitch, and the keep, Gaddis said.
Karns has talent despite the score, Gaddis said.
“We wanted to come out and really pour it on early,” he said.
He said the Wildcats had two missed opportunities to score before halftime and were a bit lackadaisical early in the second half.
“Then, we finally woke up,” Gaddis said, citing the motivation provided by the only Karns score, a field goal in the third quarter.
The Oak Ridge defense played well, holding Karns to just three points, Gaddis said.
The Wildcats struck first on their opening drive on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Stewart to junior wide receiver Jeremy Mitchell.
They quickly added seven more points after four plays on their second drive on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Stewart to senior wide receiver Caleb Martin and the extra point by senior Carson McGhee, who kicked the first four extra points.
The next drive was longer, nine plays covering 58 yards. This time, Stewart tossed the ball to junior Kai’Reese Pendergrass, who swept into the left side of the end zone on a nine-yard touchdown run.
Stewart kept the ball on the Wildcats’ next score, which was also a nine-yard run. The Wildcats led 28-0 at 5:52 in the second quarter.
Oak Ridge forced Karns to punt without a first down in each of the Beavers’ first four drives and in five of their seven first-half drives.
Karns avoided a shutout when they converted a fumbled Oak Ridge handoff into a field goal in the second half. Starting at their own 25, the Beavers drove 75 yards in 12 plays, and junior Edson Castro kicked a 28-yard field goal with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.
Karns was helped on that drive by a 41-yard run by junior Teahzjawon Hodge-Harper.
Oak Ridge responded with touchdowns on each of its next three drives, starting late in the third quarter and continuing into late in the fourth.
The first of those Wildcats scores was by Romano on a 17-yard run. That drive was helped by a 27-yard reception by junior Herbert Booker. Sophomore Brady Hutson kicked the extra point for Oak Ridge, giving the Wildcats a 35-3 lead with just under three minutes left in the third.
The next three-play Oak Ridge drive got a big boost with the 69-yard run by Alexander, who angled from left to right starting at the Wildcats 9 and ending at the Karns 32. Booker ran the ball in on the next play, curving around the right end and into the end zone. Hutson again kicked the extra point.
The final touchdown of the game was by freshman Jaylen Heyward. It was a one-play drive, a run that covered 40 yards as Heyward fielded a high snap, faked out Beavers defenders, and ran into the end zone.
Stewart finished with 10 completions on 16 attempts (62.5 percent), 145 yards passing, and two touchdowns.
Martin led receivers with 73 yards on four catches and the one touchdown.
In defensive highlights, senior linebacker Cobe Angel and senior defensive lineman Adarius Cox each had two sacks, Booker had an interception, and Mitchell had five tackles and one assist.
Junior running back Jordan Graham, whose foot was injured during the West game on Friday, September 15, has worn a boot for two weeks, and it could come off next week, the bye week, Gaddis said. The Wildcats will try to get Graham ready to play again Clinton.
Meanwhile, junior defensive back Caelan Thompson, who had been out with a hand injury since just before the first game, played for the Wildcats again on Friday.
See preliminary game statistics by Mark and Shawna Haste here.
See rushing stats here.
See passing stats here.
See receiving stats here.
See tackling stats here.
See a video by Myles Hebrard of the Kai’Reese Pendergrass touchdown run here:
— Myles Hebrard (@myleshebrard) September 30, 2017
See a video by Martin McDonald of the Johnny Stewart touchdown run here:
Johnny Stewart with the keeper up the middle extends your Wildcat lead to 28 to 0 with5:52 to play in half pic.twitter.com/E4aljRwRJ5
— Martin McDonald (@ORHSWildcatMGM) September 30, 2017
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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