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Dragons beat Cats at their own running game

Despite double coverage from Lake Orion defenders, Oxford’s Kyle Anderson caught this touchdown pass from Glacier Wallington. Unfortunately, it was the only touchdown the Wildcats scored against their archrivals. Photo by Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
August 29, 2012 - It is rare that an Oxford Wildcat football team is beaten at its own game.

But, in the opening game of the 2012 season, the Lake Orion Dragons abandoned its finesse game after a dismal first half that yielded only three first downs.

In the second half, Lake Orion used a strong running game with a full-house backfield to come from 10 points down to beat the Cats 17-10.

Bud Rowley's Wildcats held a 10-0 lead at halftime by using its vintage running game and mixing in some successful passing.

The second half was a completely different story, as Lake Orion went to a ball-control running offense that kept the Cats off the field and racked up 205 yards and 17 points in the final 24 minutes. The Dragons had zero passing yards and used a running attack that was more like Oxford-style football than Dragon football.

The victory returned the M-24 trophy back to Lake Orion as the Dragons have now won two of the three years in the renewed rivalry between the schools.

Oxford's defense was outstanding in the first half, holding the Dragons to only 24 yards of offense and three first downs.

The Wildcat's offense had 96 yards rushing and quarterback Glacier Wallington was 7-for-10 passing for 71 yards and a TD in the first 24 minutes.

In the second half, Oxford had only five first downs, barely 60 yards rushing and no passing yards.

Rowley was very succinct in summing up his team's second half shutdown.

"We didn't do anything in the second half. They kicked our butts in the second half."

Oxford got on the board first on a 37-yard field goal by Josh Nelson with 3:01 left in the first quarter.

Wallington orchestrated a beautiful 76-yard drive late in the second quarter that culminated with a perfect 26-yard pass into double coverage that was snared by Kyle Anderson in the corner of the end zone with only 33 seconds left in the half.

Nelson added the conversion and the Wildcat's looked to be in control of the game.

Lake Orion Coach Chris Bell made some major adjustments at halftime and went with a full-house backfield. That made the difference as Lake Orion's running back Jacob Miller picked up big chunks of yardage.

Miller led the Dragon attack with 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the second half.

Miller scored the first Lake Orion TD on a one-yard run in the third quarter. Lake Orion kicker Jeremy King tied it with 1:38 left in the third quarter on a 38-yard field goal.

Miller's winning TD came with 7:24 left on a 6-yard run.

The Wildcats' efforts to tie the game ended with three minutes remaining in the game when they were stopped on Lake Orion's 35-yard line on downs.

Wallington finished with 71 yards passing on 7-for-10 accuracy. All of the passing yardage was in the first half.

Sophomore Wallington also ran for 63 yards on 13 carries. Oxford running back Benjamin Line had 25 carries for 80 yards.

The Wildcats will open their home football schedule with a game on Friday at 7 p.m. against Farmington Harrison.

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