The Oak Ridge football team is 6-1 so far this season.
The Wildcats have had three wins and no losses in Region 3-5A. They have defeated Campbell County at home and West and Karns on the road.
Their other three wins were in non-regional games, with victories at Hardin Valley, at home against Dobyns-Bennett, and at Sevier County.
Their one loss, a non-regional game, was to Farragut on Blankenship Field.
All three games remaining in the regular season are regional games: Clinton (1-5, 0-2); Powell (6-1, 3-1); and Fulton (5-1, 2-0).
Oak Ridge is off this week. They play at Clinton on Friday, October 12. Their final two games, against Powell and Fulton, will be at home on October 19 and 25.
Here is a summary of the first seven games.
The season-opening game at Hardin Valley (now 4-2, 2-0 Region 1-6A) was delayed by thunderstorms for about 45 minutes. A non-regional game, it remained scoreless until about four minutes into the second quarter. That’s when Oak Ridge took a 3-0 lead on a 20-yard field goal by junior Brady Hutson. That nine-play drive was helped by a 76-yard run by junior Tyrell Romano.
The Wildcats soon had another opportunity to score after quarterback and cornerback Herbert Booker intercepted a pass by Hardin Valley senior quarterback Grayson Vaughn. Oak Ridge scored four plays later on a pass from Booker to senior wide receiver Jeremy Mitchell, who was open in the middle of the field behind two Hawks defenders. Mitchell caught the 31-yard touchdown pass as he fell backward into the end zone. The point after was no good, and Oak Ridge led 9-0 at 5:14 in the second quarter.
The Wildcats scored again early in the second half, again on a four-play drive, with senior Jordan Graham running around the right end and up the sideline before cutting inside for a 48-yard touchdown. After the extra point, the score was 16-0 at 8:39 in the third quarter.
About seven minutes later, with a little more than one minute left in the third quarter, Booker ran right into the end zone from eight yards out, helping to increase the Oak Ridge lead to 23-0.
Hardin Valley scored its only points of the game with 20.5 seconds remaining on a short four-yard touchdown run by junior Kelton Gunn. The final score was 23-7.
An interception helped set up the first Oak Ridge touchdown in this second game, again a non-regional contest, this time on Blankenship Field. A pass by Dobyns-Bennett senior quarterback Lendon Redwine bounced off the hands of an Indians player and into the hands of Oak Ridge junior cornerback Isaiah Johnson, who returned the ball 31 yards to the Dobyns-Bennett 20.
Three plays later, senior Tre Jackson scored on a one-yard run. Halfway through the first quarter, the Oak Ridge lead was 7-0. The score had been set up with help from a 19-yard sideline reception at the pylon by senior Kai’Reese Pendergrass (four catches, 76 yards).
But Dobyns-Bennett answered with a 80-yard drive that took more than four minutes, included receptions of 21 and 27 yards, and ended with a six-yard touchdown run by senior Ian Hicks (17 carries, 71 yards). Oak Ridge junior safety Jack Replogle blocked the extra point, and the Wildcats had a 7-6 lead late in the first quarter.
The Wildcats soon scored again, driving 81 yards and scoring on a 17-yard run by Booker 10 seconds into the second quarter. Oak Ridge added a two-point conversion on a pass from Replogle, who played quarterback in middle school, to senior Shemar Smith, widening the Wildcats’ lead to 15-6.
Three plays later, Oak Ridge scored again after Booker hit Dobyns-Bennett junior wide receiver Cameron Williamson, causing a fumble when the football popped up into the air. Oak Ridge sophomore Jacquez Johnson recovered it, and he ran the ball in for a 24-yard defensive touchdown. The extra point was no good after hitting the crossbar, and the Wildcats had a 21-6 lead.
Dobyns-Bennett (now 2-4, 1-1 Region 1-6A) was not able to score during its next two drives.
Oak Ridge added one more touchdown with 44 seconds left in the half on a 24-yard pass from Booker (7-of-10 for 124 yards passing) to sophomore wide receiver Jonathan Stewart. The halftime score was 28-6.
On the first play of the second half, the Wildcats padded their lead with an 81-yard touchdown run by Graham (five carries, 127 yards).
Three plays later, Booker intercepted Redwine (15-of-33 for 215 yards), and the Wildcats scored four plays after that on a 15-yard run by Booker, his second touchdown of the game. After the extra point went wide left, Oak Ridge led 41-6 at 8:12 in the third quarter.
The final score of the game was at 8:14 in the fourth quarter. Dobyns-Bennett scored when senior wide receiver Jordan Gonzalez caught an 11-yard pass from Redwine. A two-point conversion attempt by the Indians failed, and the final score was 41-12.
Replogle led the defense with five tackles and three assists, according to preliminary statistics by Mark and Shawna Haste.
Dobyns-Bennett senior wide receiver Chase Jenkins had four catches for 100 yards, and Williamson had 62 yards on three catches.
Oak Ridge had 326 total yards, compared to 319 for Dobyns-Bennett. The Wildcats had 202 yards rushing, compared to 86 for the Indians, and 124 yards passing, compared to 233 for Dobyns-Bennett.
Campbell County scored on its first drive in this first Region 3-5A game, played on Blankenship Field. It was the first time this season that the Wildcats trailed an opponent. On that opening drive, the Cougars moved 68 yards in seven plays and scored with a 41-yard touchdown run up the middle of the field by senior quarterback Landon Addington at 8:41 in the first quarter.
Neither team scored on its next two possessions.
The Wildcats tied the game 7-7 at 11:26 in the second quarter with a 16-yard run by Romano, who powered into the end zone through defenders at the end of a six-play drive.
The Cougars (now 2-4, 0-2 Region 3-5A) regained the lead about four minutes later, moving the ball 67 yards in four plays. The touchdown was on a 36-yard pass from Addington to junior wide receiver Devlin Dukes (six catches, 147 yards).
But Oak Ridge tied the game and then gained the lead, 21-14, all before halftime. The first touchdown was on a 20-yard run by Booker at 4:23 in the second quarter, and the second was a 12-yard run by Booker with 59 seconds remaining. Pendergrass helped set up the second touchdown with a 45-yard punt return.
Oak Ridge dominated the second half. The Cougars did not score, while the Wildcats added another 23 points. Oak Ridge had a 32-yard field goal by sophomore Camden Mlekodaj; a Campbell County fumble recovered on a kickoff by Oak Ridge junior Matthew Calhoun, which led to a two-yard touchdown run by Graham; and an interception returned 81 yards for a touchdown by Booker, his third score of the game.
Graham (seven carries, 73 yards) added the final score (his second), increasing the lead to 44-14, with a 26-yard touchdown run. That was at the end of a six-play, 78-yard drive at 11:49 in the fourth quarter.
Behind Graham in rushing, Booker had 54 yards on eight carries during this game, and sophomore Trey Rowe ran for 42 yards on five carries.
Sophomore quarterback Mitchell Gibbons was 5-of-7 (71.4 percent) for 48 yards and no interceptions, while Booker was 2-of 11 for 10 yards and one interception.
Junior Jacob Adams led the defense with four tackles and four assists, while Mitchell had three tackles, five assists, and an interception.
Addington led the Cougars with 115 yards rushing on 17 carries, and he was 13-of-23 passing with 137 yards and two interceptions.
Oak Ridge had 274 total yards, compared to 292 for Campbell County. The Wildcats had 216 yards rushing, compared to 115 for the Cougars, and 58 yards passing, compared to 177 for Campbell County.
This was the only loss of the season for Oak Ridge. It was a non-regional game and the third home game in a row for Oak Ridge. The Wildcats had missed scoring opportunities, including several possible touchdown passes and a missed field goal. They needed only one touchdown to beat Farragut.
The Wildcats scored first after Smith intercepted Farragut quarterback Gavin Wilkinson on the Admirals’ second drive. The Wildcats converted that turnover into a touchdown two plays later on a 22-yard pass to Mitchell, who was wide open in the right corner of the end zone. Oak Ridge led 7-0 at 5:08 in the first quarter.
But Farragut (now 7-0, 3-0 Region 1-6A) answered two drives later, moving the ball 98 yards in about about 90 seconds. That first Admirals touchdown came on a 50-yard pass from Wilkinson to Tanner Corum (six catches, 157 yards). He was open in the middle of the field at 9:48 in the second quarter.
Four minutes later, Farragut added its second touchdown with a two-yard scoring run by Wilkinson (14-of-20 for 237 yards passing, two interceptions). The Admirals had a 14-7 halftime lead.
Oak Ridge tied the game 14-14 early in the third quarter when Booker returned an interception about 99 yards for a touchdown. The football had bounced off the hands of a Farragut player near the goal line, and Booker caught it.
But two drives later, Farragut regained the lead with a 46-yard field goal by Daniel Bethel. The Admirals led 17-14 at 1:57 in the third quarter.
On its next drive, which covered 79 yards in 18 plays, Farragut added the final score, a 32-yard field goal by Bethel. The final score at 1:50 in the fourth quarter was 20-14 in favor of Farragut.
Oak Ridge Coach Joe Gaddis said the Wildcats left 24 points on the field in this game, including three potential touchdowns and the missed field goal.
“We had pass plays to make,” he said. “We just didn’t make them. We should not lose another game if we execute.”
Oak Ridge had 249 total yards, compared to 362 for Farragut. The Wildcats had 92 yards rushing, compared to 125 for the Admirals, and 157 yards passing, compared to 237 for Farragut.
Booker was 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) with 157 yards, with no interceptions.
Graham led the Wildcats rushing with 50 yards on nine carries.
Adams had nine tackles and seven assists for Oak Ridge, while Mitchell had six tackles and four assists, along with a blocked pass.
Kyle Carter ran for 103 yards on 17 carries for the Admirals.
Oak Ridge was held scoreless for most of the first half in this game. It was the second regional game of the season, played at West.
West scored first on a 62-yard pass from Jawaun Moore to Cedarius Bost, who was running straight down the field behind the Oak Ridge defense. That was on the Rebels’ third drive, and West took a 7-0 lead at 5:24 in the first quarter.
Starting midway through the second quarter, West (now 3-4, 2-1 Region 3-5A) scored again after blocking an Oak Ridge punt. A short 17-yard drive ended with a three-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Mattress with 2:20 remaining before halftime.
But the Wildcats did not give up. With about a half-minute to play, Graham (15 carries, 191 yards) got the toss as he swept left to right on a four-play drive that started in Wildcats territory. He squeezed between blocks on the right side of the field before running down the right sideline 72 yards for a touchdown. Oak Ridge trailed 14-7 at halftime.
Helped by an offensive turnaround in the second half, the Wildcats got back on the board early in the third quarter after Calhoun blocked a pass by Moore and then caught it for an interception.
Four plays later, Oak Ridge scored on a 25-yard field goal by Mlekodaj. The score was 14-10, in favor of West, at 6:47 in the third quarter.
Mattress scored again for West on a six-yard touchdown run about two minutes into the fourth quarter, giving the Rebels a 21-10 lead.
But Oak Ridge responded quickly, covering 80 yards on two plays. One was a 32-yard run by Pendergrass, and the other was a 48-yard run by Graham. Receiving the pitch, Graham ran right, paused, cut back inside, and then ran straight ahead for the touchdown, his second of the game, at 8:54 in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats had narrowed the West lead to 21-17 at 8:54 in the fourth quarter.
On its next drive, Oak Ridge scored again for its first lead of the game. It was also the final score, 24-21, at 5:46 in the fourth quarter. The touchdown was scored by Booker (17 carries, 68 yards), who faked a toss to the left and then ran into the right side of the end zone.
Adams had five tackles and 10 assists for the Wildcats, and Replogle had a sack.
Oak Ridge had 327 total yards, compared to 166 for West. The Wildcats had 310 yards rushing, compared to 35 for the Rebels, and 17 yards passing, compared to 131 for West.
No Rebel had more than 15 yards rushing or 35 yards receiving.
Oak Ridge scored back-to-back touchdowns on interceptions of sophomore quarterback Cam Burden less than two minutes and four plays into this non-regional game at Sevier County.
One scoring interception by Pendergrasss was on a Sevier County third-and-10 at its own 23, and the other was by Booker on a first-and-10 at the Smoky Bears 26. The Wildcats had a 14-0 lead at 10:22 in the first quarter.
But Sevier County (now 1-6, 0-3 Region 2-5A) responded with a touchdown pass from Burden to senior wide receiver Colin Russell who was wide open on the left side of the field. The Smoky Bears drive covered 74 yards in just several plays, narrowing the Oak Ridge lead to 14-7 at 8:54 in the first quarter.
Oak Ridge had a special teams touchdown in the first half when Pendergrass returned a punt for a touchdown up the right side of the field, giving the Wildcats a 21-7 lead at 9:56 in the second quarter.
The final score of the first half came on a deep ball from Burden to junior receiver Brayden Hurst, who made a diving catch in the center of the end zone. The extra point was blocked, and Oak Ridge had a 21-13 lead at halftime.
Oak Ridge had no offensive touchdowns in the first half at Sevier County, and the Wildcats were held to 74 yards of total offense. It was the second week in a row that the offense struggled in the first half.
That changed in the second half, when Oak Ridge scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, including a short run by Graham and a long run by Booker (10 carries, 157 yards, including an 80-yard run). Pendergrass (three receptions, 44 yards) had a one-handed touchdown catch behind Sevier County defenders in the end zone, when the Wildcats took the final 41-13 lead at 0:19 in the third quarter. It was the third touchdown of the game for Pendergrass.
Behind Booker, Graham was the second-leading rusher in this game with 49 yards on eight carries.
Adams had six tackles, six assists, and a sack. Smith had four tackles, four assists, and a fumble recovery. Replogle had two sacks.
Oak Ridge had 307 total yards, compared to 294 for Sevier County. The Wildcats had 247 yards rushing, compared to 155 for the Smoky Bears, and 60 yards passing, compared to 139 for Sevier County.
Oak Ridge scored quickly in this regional game at Karns, after Calhoun recovered a kickoff fumbled by the Beavers. Three plays later, Romano (nine carries, 76 yards) ran the ball in from five yards out. That gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead a little more than one minute into the game.
Jackson scored a second touchdown for the Wildcats with a short four-yard run a few minutes into the second quarter.
The team’s third touchdown of the first half followed a Booker interception. The Wildcats ended a six-play, 57-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass from Gibbons, the sophomore quarterback, to Pendergrass with three seconds left in the first half. The halftime score was 21-0.
Karns (now 1-6, 0-4 Region 3-5A) scored its only touchdown when Oak Ridge fumbled the first kickoff of the second half. A four-play, 22-yard drive by the Beavers ended with a 14-yard pass from senior quarterback Daniel Kitts to senior Thomas Harper in the right side of the end zone. The score was 21-7 at 9:25 in the third quarter.
But Oak Ridge quickly responded with a four-play, 52-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard run by Romano, who ran into the left side of the end zone virtually untouched at 7:44 in the third.
Romano scored his third touchdown late in the third, with 13 seconds left, this time on a pitch from Booker and six-yard run before Romano ping-ponged into the end zone at the right pylon. The score was 35-7.
On their next drive, the Wildcats scored again, this time on a 19-yard pass from Gibbons to Isaiah Johnson at 9:23 in the fourth quarter.
On the final play of the game, Booker intercepted Kitts in the end zone and returned the football more than 100 yards for a touchdown. It was a new school record, broadcaster David Clary said. Booker had previously tied the earlier record of 99 yards against Farragut, Clary said.
The final score was 48-7.
Gibbons was 9-of-13 (69.2 percent) for 114 yards, while Booker was 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) for 56 yards.
Behind Romano, Graham ran for 53 yards on eight carries.
Stewart led receivers with four catches for 47 yards.
Photos courtesy Barry Houchin and Luther Simmons. Preliminary stats by Mark and Shawna Haste.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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