-Memorial Stadium West Milton, OH
Just hours before game time, Head Coach Bret Pearce was asked what he thought the one key to beating Oakwood would be. Without hesitation he replied, “We need to stop the penalties. Last week, we had twelve penalties for ninety yards. We just need to clean up our game.”
Coach Pearce’s words turned negatively prophetic as the MU Bulldogs continued their sloppy play, coughing up the football an unbelievable seven times (six fumbles lost, one interception)along with key third quarter penalties, handing Oakwood High School a 27-7 victory at Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Good teams do not need help, but when the Bulldog’s fumbled the opening kickoff, Oakwood had the football first and ten on the MU thirty-one yard line just twelve seconds into the contest. It took just seven plays and a Matt Carpenter one yard sneak to put the Lumberjacks in the lead 6-0. Oakwood went for two on a trick play, but the conversion failed.
MU battled back on the only possession they would have in the first quarter and marched on a forty-two yard drive (Jake Finfrock thirty-one yards rushing) into Oakwood territory. On fourth and one, Coach Pearce sent out the punt team, but blocker Cody Hill received the snap. The fake punt was snuffed by Oakwood and the Jacks took over first and ten.
Oakwood drove methodically to the MU seven yard line, but the drive was snuffed out by Evan Geus’s interception with just seconds remaining in the first quarter. The quarter ended and MU and possessed the ball just one time, yet only trailed 6-0.
The second quarter was more of the same for the Bulldogs. After a three and out possession, Oakwood marched forty-two yards in seven plays to take a 13-0 lead on Carpenter’s second touchdown run of the evening and a Colin Morris PAT.
Two more Bulldog possessions ended with a fumble lost and a blocked field goal attempt, and MU limped to the locker room down 13-0.
Coach Pearce and the coaching staff made all the proper adjustments at halftime evident by Bulldog domination of the quarter. Oakwood started with the football and drove twenty yards to the forty yard line. On fourth down in a traditional punting situation, Oakwood went for it, but the defense held giving the ball to MU in Oakwood territory.
The next possession is the MU season in a microcosm. The Dogs drove from the Oakwood forty-one yard line to the eighteen. On third and four, MU committed successive false start penalties to make it an unmanageable third and fourteen. Adam Martin did not get the shotgun snap, and the Bulldogs turned the football over on downs deep in Oakwood territory.
However, the MU defense refused to quit and gave up just two yards on Oakwood’s possession. After just a twenty-five yard punt, MU had the ball at midfield. After a first down, Adam Martin turned to handoff the football and found no one to hand it to. After a moment’s hesitation, he took off up the middle and scampered virtually untouched thirty-seven yards for the Bulldog touchdown. Nick Fields boomed the extra point, and it was a ballgame at 13-7.
The Bulldog crowd finally had something to cheer about, and after a block below the waist on the kickoff, Oakwood took over the football at its own ten yard line with just 2:25 remaining in the third. The Lumberjacks gained zero yards in the possession, and MU took the football over at the Oakwood thirty-four yard line in great field position to improbably take the lead. After a first down, the third quarter ended with MU at the Oakwood twenty yard line with all of the momentum in the world.
That all changed on the first play of the fourth quarter. Martin dropped back to pass and threw an interception that Oakwood turned into a back breaking sixty-four yard drive. The drive culminated with a thirty-five yard touchdown run by Carpenter, his third touchdown of the game, giving Oakwood a 21-7 lead with just 5:50 left in the football game.
Things turned from bad to worse for the Bulldogs as their final three drives ended with fumble recoveries by the Jacks giving Milton-Union four turnovers in the last stanza. Oakwood ended the scoring with a final touchdown run by Colin Morris making the final 27-7.
Oakwood ended the game with 288 total yards (21 yards passing) to 245 total yards (28 yards passing) for the Bulldogs. Matt Carpenter led the Lumberjacks with 140 yards rushing, and the Bulldogs were led by Jake Finfrock’s 107 rushing yards.
Milton-Union resumes action Friday, September 10 at Tipp City. Kickoff is set for 7:30.