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Close win keeps Cats' playoff hopes alive



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Oxford's Aaron Johnston was the hero of the Oak Park game as he kicked an 18-yard field goal with only 6 seconds left to put the Wildcats on top 20-18. (click for larger version)
October 23, 2013 - Oxford's hopes for a playoff spot are still alive following a late field goal that netted the Wildcats a 20-18 victory over Oak Park on Friday.

The Wildcats improved to 4-4 on the season and must travel in the crossover game to West Bloomfield (5-3) on Friday to play the Lakers in an effort to qualify for the state playoffs. Five wins will not automatically qualify for a playoff berth, but a win on Friday could likely clinch a spot.

Against Oak Park, Oxford used its running game to pile up 322 yards on the ground. The Wildcats led in time of possession, 31 minutes to 16 for Oak Park.

But the Cats needed an 18-yard field goal by Aaron Johnston with only six seconds remaining to stop the Knights after they took the lead at the end of the third quarter.

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The lack of a kicking game doomed Oak Park as they failed to connect on any extra points following their three touchdowns.

Oxford led most of the game, scoring the opening TD less than three minutes into the game when quarterback Glacier Wallington ran four yards for a score.

Less than a minute into the second quarter Johnston hit a 25-yard field goal to put Oxford up 10-0.

Oak Park got a TD before halftime and the Cats led 10-6 at intermission.

Oxford increased its lead to 17-6 with 7:25 left in the third quarter, but the Knights came back with two scores in the third quarter to take the lead.

The Knights got one TD with 4:49 left in the quarter on a 25-yard pass to cut Oxford's lead to 17-12.

Oak Park then took control, 18-17, with eight seconds left in the third stanza. The TD came on a four-yard run.

Neither team could find the end zone in the fourth quarter until Johnston's heroics. His kick, with only six seconds left, split the uprights from 18 yards.

The Wildcats had 322 rushing yards and none passing. The Knights had 109 yards rushing and 121 passing.

Seniors Ben Line and Wes Maskill were the workhorses in Coach Bud Rowley's offense. Maskill had 142 yards rushing on 26 carries and Line had 29 runs for 134 yards.

William Horne and Line led the defense for Oxford.

Friday's crossover game against West Bloomfield, which plays in the OAA Red Division, will be at 7 p.m.

The teams had one common opponent during the season, Lake Orion.

Oxford lost 35-30 to the Dragons and the Lakers were burned 49-12.

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