Note: This story was last updated at 2:40 p.m.
Oak Ridge lost to Ooltewah, 26-17, in a second-round Class 5A playoff game in Ooltewah on Friday. Here are pictures by Julio Culiat.
Note: This story was updated at 4:45 p.m. Nov. 15.
OOLTEWAH—Oak Ridge gave up 17 points in the first quarter and lost its star playmaker in the second, but the Wildcats rallied to close the gap before falling short in a second-round Class 5A playoff game in Ooltewah on Friday.
The final score was 26-17 in favor of the Owls, who move on to play Rhea County in a Class 5A quarterfinal game next week.
A lot went wrong for Oak Ridge (10-2) in the first quarter at Ooltewah on Friday: an early fumble, a dropped end-zone pass, a missed field goal, and a turnover on a punt return. Ooltewah (10-2) breezed to a 17-0 lead in the first 11 minutes.
Then, Oak Ridge lost star playmaker Tee Higgins late in the second quarter to a knee injury on his right leg. Higgins, a junior standout receiver, defensive back, and punt returner who is a University of Tennessee commitment, did not return. [Read more…]
Led by the three touchdowns of freshman Jordan Graham, the Oak Ridge Wildcats beat the Lenoir City Panthers 55-15 on Homecoming Night at Blankenship Field on Friday. Here are photos from the Friday night game, with all but one by Julio Culiat. [Read more…]
Note: This story was last updated at 1:15 p.m. Sept. 19.
Wildcats freshman running back Jordan Graham scored three touchdowns, including one on the opening kickoff return and another in front of University of Tennessee Coach Butch Jones, during a 55-15 win over Lenoir City on Homecoming Night at Blankenship Field on Friday.
“It was a great experience,” Graham said. He gave credit to his teammates and their blocking for setting up his first three Wildcats touchdowns.
Graham, who ended with more than 100 yards rushing, started the scoring on a 91-yard kickoff return on the first play of the game. He initially fumbled the ball, but he recovered his own fumble and raced to the Panther end zone, first making defenders miss and then outrunning them.
Graham, a small, fast 14-year-old, scored again at 5:51 in the second quarter, sweeping around the right side of the offensive line after a toss from senior quarterback Jordan Dunbar, weaving through defenders in the center of the field, and running 59 yards to score inside the left pylon, making it 21-8. [Read more…]
Note: This story was last updated at 12 p.m. Aug. 29
KINGSPORT—A tipped pass intercepted by the Oak Ridge defense at their own 11-yard line with less than three minutes to play saved a 17-14 win for the Wildcats at Dobyns-Bennett on Friday.
Before the tipped pass and interception, the Indians had blocked a Wildcats punt at the Oak Ridge 33 and driven to the Oak Ridge 10. The Wildcats were ahead by three, but Dobyns-Bennett had a chance to tie the game or even take the lead.
But with 2:39 to play, Wildcats senior defensive end Alex Alcorn blocked a pass by Indians quarterback Cole Maupin, and senior linebacker Adam Manookian intercepted it, shifting the momentum from Dobyns-Bennett back to Oak Ridge.
After the interception, two big runs by senior quarterback Jordan Dunbar helped the Wildcats (2-0) get the football into Dobyns-Bennett territory, where Oak Ridge was able to let time run out at the end of the fourth quarter.
“It was definitely a nail-biter,” Manookian said. “They were so close to the end zone.” [Read more…]
Information from WYSH Radio
The All-District 3AAA football team for 2014 was announced last week as were individual postseason honors.
The Coach of the Year is Oak Ridge’s Joe Gaddis.
Anderson County’s Matt Fox was named Player of the Year, while Campbell County’s Ethan Jeffers was named Offensive Player of the Year and Gibbs’ Hunter Lane was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Lineman of the Year honors went to Oak Ridge’s Alex Alcorn, the D3AAA Newcomer of the Year was Oak Ridge’s Tee Higgins, and the Specialist of the Year was Oak Ridge’s Brandon Nickle. [Read more…]
Note: This story was last updated at 1:50 a.m. Nov. 24.
Oak Ridge mounted a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback against Rhea County on Friday—narrowing a three-touchdown deficit to one—but the Wildcats were unable to make up for missed opportunities and turnovers and they fell to the Golden Eagles 35-21 in a state quarterfinal playoff game.
Down 28-7 in the final quarter, Oak Ridge scored back-to-back touchdowns in 24 seconds to close the 28-7 deficit to 28-21 with about eight minutes left to play.
After a defensive stop less than two minutes later, the Wildcats had the ball back at midfield, with a chance to tie the game. Oak Ridge fans were fired up, and Coach Joe Gaddis said he’s never heard Blankenship Field so loud. [Read more…]
Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m.
The whole season boiled down to these last four plays. Down by only four points, Cleveland had the football on a first-and-10 at the Oak Ridge 11-yard line with 1:17 left to play.
The Wildcats were ahead 10-6, but the Blue Raiders only needed a touchdown to take the lead—and end Oak Ridge’s season in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
But a crucial goal-line stop at Blankenship Field on Friday night preserved the win for the undefeated Wildcats. They now move on to the quarterfinals, playing against Rhea County at home next Friday and setting up a showdown between two 12-0 teams. [Read more…]
CLINTON—Many players on the Oak Ridge football team don’t remember the last time the Wildcats went undefeated back in 1999. But now, 15 years later, they all have something to hang their hats on: an undefeated season and a district championship.
The Wildcats (10-0, 8-0 District 3-AAA) outlasted the Anderson County Mavericks (8-2, 7-1) to win the district title 28-16 on Thursday at Anderson County High School in Clinton. Oak Ridge was led by the two touchdown catches of sophomore wide receiver Tee Higgins.
Both teams scored one touchdown each in the first quarter, but the usually reliable Brandon Nickle missed a field goal for Oak Ridge. The Wildcats’ touchdown came on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Gavin Warrington halfway through the first quarter.
However, the Mavericks soon proved they deserved to be playing in the District 3-AAA championship. Anderson County faked a handoff up the middle, and quarterback Garrett Johnson, who filled in for injured QB Zane Smith, threw a touchdown pass to Cale Brock.
But the Mavs missed the extra point, making it 7-6 Oak Ridge after the first quarter.
Oak Ridge stepped up on offense and defense in the second quarter. With 8:53 left in the second, senior cornerbacks Jemiah Hall and Ted Mitchell combined for a bone-crushing tackle on Anderson County running back Matt Fox. Mitchell recovered after Fox fumbled, but the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize on the following drive. [Read more…]