Source: Sherman Publications

Wildcats lose close one

by Dan Shriner

September 14, 2011

A last-minute loss on Friday to the Farmington Falcons was bitter for the Oxford Wildcats but Coach Bud Rowley also knows it can be a learning experience for the team.

Oxford won the statistical battle but not the final score as three turnovers put the Cats into a 17-point deficit at halftime.

But the Wildcats overcame a 24-7 halftime deficit by scoring 24 points in the second half to take a 31-24 lead with less than five minutes in the game.

The Falcons’ only TD of the second half came with 47 seconds left. Then, a gutsy two-point conversion pass gave Farmington the 32-31 win.

Rowley told his team that they played a great second half but said warned them that overcoming double-digit deficits is difficult. The week before, the Wildcats were down 18 points to Southfield Lathrup before rallying in the second half to easily win the game.

Oxford’s only TD in the first half came on a 35-yard run by Prescott Line. Three turnovers by the Cats led to 17 points for Farmington in the first half.

Line scored on a 14-yard run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 24-14 with 5:57 left in the period. A 27-yard field goal by John Kitchener cut the lead to 24-17.

The Oxford defense held Farmington again and the Cats took over early in the fourth quarter. Oxford Quarterback Vito Giannola was injured early in the fourth quarter and was replaced by freshman QB Glacier Wallington.

Line then took over on offense. He had a 38-yard run out to Farmington’s 45 and then ran 43 yards for a score. Kitchener’s extra point kick tied the score at 24 with 8:36 remaining.

Once again, the Wildcat defense held Farmington and forced a punt from the Falcon 15. The Cats took over on Farmington’s 49.

Line then carried 10 consecutive times before diving in from the one with 4:51 left in the game. Kitchener’s conversion gave Oxford a 31-24 lead.

The Farmington offense then woke up and scored from five yards out to tie the game and then on it with the two-point conversion pass.

Line finished with four touchdowns and 277 yards rushing on 39 carries. He has scored 14 TDs in three games and leads all state running backs in that category. He has 741 yards rushing in the three games.

Oxford finished with 282 yards rushing and 87 passing and had 20 first downs to Farmington’s 18.

The Wildcats, 2-1, will travel to Farmington Harrison this week to play the Hawks at 7 p.m. Harrison is ranked first in Division II and is undefeated this season. They were state champions in Division II in 2010.