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Cats put out the Knights' lights



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Oxford’s Marty Giannola catches the ball despite enduring this tremendous hit from an Oak Park defender. Photos by Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
October 26, 2011 - Oxford Coach Bud Rowley is always looking for an opportunity for his players to learn and improve.

So, even though the Wildcats beat Oak Park 31-21 and finished the regular season at 7-2, the players knew the effort was not their best.

"It's a great lesson to be learned," Rowley said. "You have to work every day hard in practice. You don't take a day off. You have to work, work, work every day. We will be ready next week."

The next week is now and it will feature Oxford hosting a state district playoff match against Rochester Adams at 7 p.m. Friday.

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The Wildcats beat the Highlanders earlier this season 22-16 in overtime at Adams.

The other two teams in the Wildcats' district are Port Huron and Ortonville Brandon. The winners will face off next week.

Oak Park won only three games during the season but had large offensive and defensive lines.

The Wildcats are accustomed to facing larger opponents but were simply not as sharp as they have been on offense this season.

Oxford's Prescott Line was held to his lowest output of the season, rushing for 174 yards on 38 carries and scoring three touchdowns. The effort was likely enough to clinch his chance to be named Mr. Football in Michigan for the season.

Line was the leading rusher in the state, running for 2,272 yards for 35 touchdowns and one two-point conversion. On defense, the middle linebacker had 128 tackles, including 58 solo tackles. Ten of those tackles were for losses. He also had four sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. One of those interceptions was for a TD.

The Oak Park Knight's game plan obviously was to stop Line and they held him below his season averages.

But, freshman quarterback Glacier Wallington had his best game of the season, running for 65 yards and passing for 90 yards on five-for-eight accuracy to provide some balance to the Wildcats' attack.

Oxford jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter but the Knights fought back to cut the lead to 21-14 less than two minutes before halftime.

Oxford's big play in the first half was a 52-yard TD pass from Wallington to Tyler Hunsucker on a fourth down play. Wallington faked a hand off to Line and hit Hunsucker with the pass.

After the Knights scored late in the first half, Wallington engineered a drive that included two big runs by the freshman signal caller to set up the Cats for a field goal.

Mike Kitchner hit the 39-yard field goal as time expired in the half to give the Wildcats a 24-14 advantage.

Each team scored once in the final half.

Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.
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