CATEGORY: FOL High School Football

AUTHOR: WAYNE

OXFORD STUNNED AGAIN

By Wayne Clements

Daily Journal

CALHOUN CITY Wow.

Note to all those fans who left D.L. Harrison Field (a.k.a. The Boneyard) with 2 1/2 minutes remaining Friday night: You missed a whale of a finish.

Calhoun City went the length of the field in less than a minute, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 6.8 seconds left to knock off Oxford 27-24 Friday night.

It was Oxford's first loss, Calhoun City's third-straight win, and one of the wildest games Calhoun County's seen in years.

"No timeouts, to go down field and do what we did," Calhoun City coach Mike Ray said, still panting slightly, "I just have to take my hat off to these guys."

For Oxford, the finish shouldn't have come as a surprise. The Wildcats did the same thing last year, scoring twice in the final 6 minutes for a 20-19 win.

"They made the plays they had to to win the game," Oxford coach Robert Youngblood said. "I thought we'd made the plays we needed to. Our kids played four quarters, hard. We've just got to take this and make something good out of it."

Oxford scored its only offensive points with 2 minutes, 34 seconds left on Kredwrick Johnson's 13-yard TD run. Johnson added the two-point conversion run for a 24-21 lead.

Calhoun City's chances appeared dead when the Wildcats' next play was an interception. But, as it had all night, the Wildcat defense stood up to the task, stopping the Chargers and forcing a punt that rolled out of bounds at the Calhoun City 14 with exactly 60 seconds left.

"I knew it wasn't over," Calhoun City receiver Jody Jennings said. "I knew we had time to score."

Score they did. Former starting quarterback Jason Gates took a lateral on the Wildcats' first play, scrambled halfway across the field, then heaved a deep pass to Jennings.

Jennings hauled in the pass for a first down at the Chargers' 27-yard line with 37.5 seconds left. Another pass to tailback Sherron Moore gave the Wildcats a first down at the 8 with 21.9 seconds. Two incomplete passes left the Wildcats facing third-and-goal with 11.3 seconds left.

Herrod then found Jennings in the left corner of the end zone in triple coverage, no less for the game-winning TD.

"It was just one-on-one, but we knew they were going to double- or triple-team," Jennings said. "I saw the ball in the air and it looked like it was going out of bounds."

Jennings managed to drag one foot in bounds.

The loss was the first for Oxford (5-1), ranked No. 10 in the state and No. 3 in the Daily Journal large school poll. Calhoun City (No. 8 AP Little 10, No. 2 Daily Journal) improved to 5-1.

The Wildcats blitzed the Chargers early, taking a 21-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Bernard Sykes, a 45-yard pass from Herrod to Jennings and a 31-yard TD pass from Herrod to Gates. Jennings' TD followed an onside kick, giving the Wildcats 14 points in 9 seconds.

Oxford scored nine points in the final 4 minutes of the first half on a safety and a 75-yard kick return by Derrick Johnson on the free kick.

The Chargers cut the lead to 21-16 when defensive lineman Brad Carper picked up a Herrod fumble and returned it 20 yards for a TD in the third period. They took the lead in the fourth period on Johnson's 13-yard run, setting up the frantic finish.

Calhoun City 27, Oxford 24

Oxford 0 9 7 8 24

Calhoun City 21 0 0 6 27

First Quarter

CAL - Sykes 1 run (kick blocked), 9:10

CAL - Jennings 45 pass from Herrod (Moore run), 9:01

CAL - Gates 31 pass from Herrod (Sykes kick), 2:25

Second Quarter

OXF - Safety, Herrod tackled in end zone, 4:00

OXF - D. Johnson 75 kickoff return (Boatright kick), 3:50

Third Quarter

OXF - Carper 20 fumble return (Boatright kick), 6:11

Fourth Quarter

OXF - K. Johnson 13 run (Johnson run), 2:34

CAL - Jennings 8 pass from Herrod (kick failed), :04.3

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