September 12, 2012 - Down 21-7 at haltfime to perennial powerhouse Farmington Hills Harrison, things did not look so bright for the Oxford Wildcats on Friday.
Oxford tailback Liam Logan on a run against Harrison. He would later score the game-winning TD.
Photo by Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
So maybe an appearance at halftime by members of Oxford's undefeated 1992 State Champion football team, brought a little bit of luck to this year's Wildcats as the team fought back and got a dramatic double overtime win, 34-31.
The Wildcats had not beaten Harrison since 1999 and the Hawks' team speed seemed to be too much for the Cats in the first half.
Harrison scored twice in the first quarter -- on a 4-yard pass and a 21-yard run -- while Oxford QB Glacier Wallington hit Nathan Brubaker with a 16-yard TD pass.
The Hawks added another score in the second quarter on a 20-yard run for the 21-7 lead at halftime.
Oxford's defense stepped up and suddenly Harrison's team speed didn't look so effective. The Cats held Harrison scoreless in the second half of regulation and Harrison managed less than 70 yards of offense for the half.
The Hawks hurt their chances by commiting more than 85 yards in penalties, which stopped several potential scoring opportunities. Harrison even recovered three Oxford fumbles but couldn't capitalize on any of them.
The Wildcats' began cutting into Harrison's lead in the third quarter when Liam Logan scored on a 1-yard TD. Joshua Nelson kicked the conversion to make it a 21-14 game with 5:28 left in the third quarter.
The Hawks' miscues caught up with them again on their next possession. The Cats' Brubaker dropped the kickoff returner on the 13-yard line and despite gaining some yardage, penalties pushed Harrison back so they had to punt from their own 14.
The Harrison punter shanked his kick and it went out of bounds on the 11 yard line.
On a fourth down and two yards to go from the three-yard line, Wallington hit Kyle Anderson with a touchdown pass with 1:49 left in the third quarter. Nelson converted and the score was tied at 21-21.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter although Harrison threatened late in the quarter. An interception by Brennan Orr with time running out sent the game to overtime.
In overtime, each team is given the ball on the 10-yard line and has four chances to score, with either a field goal or touchdown.
Oxford scored on their first possession on a one-yard run by Logan. Harrison tied it on a six-yard pass.
On the Hawk's next possesion, the Wildcat's defense again held Harrison and the Hawks settled for a field goal and a 31-28 lead..
Sensing a victory, the Cats needed only two runs by Logan, the final carry of four yards to win the game.
Logan finished with 66 yards rushing on 24 carries with three touchdowns. Kyle Reason had 53 yards rushing while Zack Hadorn had 33.
Wallington was 7-for-13 passing for 76 yards.
The victory put the Wildcat's record in the OAA White Division at 1-0 and 3-1 overall. This week, the cats will travel to Farmington who is also undefeated in the OAA White Division.
Coach Bud Rowley praised his team's effort, from the kicking game to the offense and defense.
"Everybody played great tonight," he said. "It was a team effort across the board. The guys played a great game. We were down 21-7 and we hunkered down and did an awesome job to come back. It was a helluva job. I'm proud of the whole team."
Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.