September 26, 2012 - Sometimes getting into the heads of your opponents is the best way to defeat them.
Oxford’s Zack Hadorn rushes into the end zone to score a touchdown. It was one of three he scored against Adams. Photos by Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
The Oxford football team learned this simple lesson on Friday to overcome a 10-7 halftime deficit and roll to a 28-16 victory with 21 fourth-quarter points to top Rochester Adams.
The turning point in the game came after Adams had a first down inside Oxford's one yard line. The Cats' defense stuffed Adams on four consecutive plays and took possession inside their one. Had Adams scored they would have been ahead 17-7.
Instead, the Wildcats moved the ball on three plays to their 10-yard line. Coach Bud Rowley gambled on a fourth down and a yard to go for a first down. The Cats got the first down and then marched down the field on what was a 99-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 24-yard TD run by Zack Hadorn.
The score ended a 15-play drive and gave Oxford a 14-10 lead with 11 minutes left in the game.
The defensive stop and the 99-yard drive seemed to give the Wildcats confidence and maybe intimidate Adams because the Highlanders never could regain momentum.
Oxford added another TD a few minutes later after recovering an Adams' fumble on the 24. A 5-yard run by Hadorn four plays later gave the Wildcats a 21-10 lead after Josh Nelson's third conversion kick.
Adams scored its final touchdown on a broken play that resulted in a 79-yard pass completion late in the fourth quarter.
Oxford's final TD came after Brennen Orr's interception and return to the five yard line set up Hadorn's third TD of the night to clinch the win.
"This was a great win and everybody contributed. The defensive line, the offensive line all did a great job. Our running backs and quarterback did an outstanding job. This was a great team win," Rowley said.
Quarterback Glacier Wallington completed 5-of-11 passes for 55 yards and also scored Oxford's first TD on a nifty 30-yard run through the Adams' defense.
Liam Logan led the Wildcat running attack with 101 yards on 25 carries. Hadorn had 56 yards rushing and the three TDs.
The victory was a little bit of revenge for last season when the Highlanders knocked Oxford out of the state playoffs with a 26-20 victory.
The win improved Oxford's record in the OAA White Division to 3-1 and put the Cats in a second-place tie with Farmington behind undefeated Oak Park.
This week the Wildcats will travel to Southfield for a 4 p.m. game on Friday.
Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.