October 19, 2011 - The Oxford Wildcat's magic continued on Friday as Coach Bud Rowley's crew upset Clarkston, 42-35 to clinch a state playoff berth.
Oxford’s Mike Hansen (left) is about to catch a 36-yard pass to get the Wildcats down to the 4-yard line, setting the team up for touchdown. Photos by Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
Clarkston was ranked fourth in the state and had not lost a game on the gridiron this season. The Wolves had to forfeit two of its victories earlier this season after using an ineligible player,
"You are an outstanding team," Rowley said, emphasizing the word 'team'. "What you are doing is magic."
Running back Prescott Line again led the way for the Wildcats, rushing for 301 yards on 33 carries. Line scored four touchdowns running and added a fifth on a 35-yard interception return.
Line has been receiving recognition as perhaps the best running back in the state. He has rushed for 2,091 yards in eight games and has scored 33 touchdowns and one two-point conversion for 200 points.
His 2,091 yards rushing and 200 points are the best of any high school player in the state.
Rowley emphasized the team victory because at times it was obvious that Clarkston was playing a defense that sought to stop the run and to stop Line. That's when quarterback Glacier Wallington and other members of the offense stepped up to make plays.
"I am more comfortable now, " said Wallington. He is a freshman who replaced injured senior Vito Giannola earlier this season. "But it's pretty easy sometimes with Prescott back there. Just give him the ball and watch him."
Oxford jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on the strength of a 43-yard TD run by Line and his 35-yard interception return.
The Wolves came back to tie the score with 4:22 left in the second quarter on a 31-yard pass. Following a fumble recover, Clarkston then went ahead 21-14 on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
The Wolves were playing a defense designed to stop Line, so Oxford quarterback Glacier Wallington used some nifty passing to get the Wildcats into the endzone to tie the game at 21-all with less than 12 seconds left in the half.
Wallington hit Mike Hansen on a 36-yard pass down to the four yard line and then connected on a TD toss to Tyler Hunsucker with 11.6 seconds before halftime.
Neither team scored in the third quarter but Clarkston tool a 28-21 lead early in the fourth quarter on a six-yard run.
Wallington then sparked the Cats with two runs, of 24 and 13 yards, to move the team before Line went the final 14 yards for a score. Line broke five tackles on the run and completed the 81-yard drive in only seven plays.
The Wildcats were quickly back in a hole when Clarkston got a 92 yard kickoff return for a score to give the Wolves a 35-28 lead with eight minutes left in the game.
Line seemed to take over the game at that point. The Wildcats drove 85 yards for a score, with Line gaining 75 of those yards. The drive included runs of 36, 30 and the final six yards for the TD by Line to tie the game at 35-all with 5:54 left.
The Cats' defense then held Clarkston and a 28-yard punt return by Matt Economou gave the Wildcats great field position at the Clarkston 23. Quarterback sacks by Vincent Griffith and another by Line and Zachary Hadorn stopped the Wolves and forced them to punt.
A couple of plays later, Line went the final 18 yards. The sixth conversion of the night by Michael Kitchner gave Oxford its 42-35 lead.
Wallington had his best game passing, throwing for 110 yards and one TD. He also ran for 57 yards.
Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.