SHENANDOAH — College Park scored 31 unanswered points to erase an early deficit and beat rival Oak Ridge 45-28 at Woodforest Bank Stadium on Friday night in District 15-6A play.
The win is the second in a row for the Cavaliers (4-3, 2-3). It’s also the second win in a row over the War Eagles (2-4, 1-3). The only other time College Park has won two straight in the series was 2010 and 2011.
“You never want to give up 28 points in the first half,” head coach Lonnie Madison said. “It was kind of a shootout early, 28-24 at half. My credit goes to the defensive coaches. They came in at halftime and made adjustments. The defense pitched a shutout (in the second half) and made some huge fourth-down stops to get us some good field position and set up scores.”
Oak Ridge led by 14 points two separate times in the first half. In the second half, the War Eagles only ran 21 offensive plays as College Park held onto the ball and drained the clock.
“I think our kids fought,” coach Mark Schmid said. “I think our kids played with class and character. You always want to come out with the win but at the same time, if your kids are handling themselves with class and character and they fight until the end, you’ve got to feel good about your football team.”
Both teams established the run early and often Friday night. In the first half alone, six rushing touchdowns were scored. There wasn’t a passing touchdown scored all night.
Oak Ridge senior Adrian Murdaugh kicked off the scoring with a 22-yard sweep. Shortly after College Park lost a fumble on its first play from scrimmage, the War Eagles got a 2-yard rushing score from Alton McCaskill.
Murdaugh and McCaskill were two-thirds of a trio of War Eagles that led the way on the ground. Murdaugh had 65 yards on seven carries, McCaskill had 36 yards on seven carries, and Kywon Morgan had 92 yards on 10 carries.
College Park’s defense got on the board late in the first quarter. Curt Evangelister recovered a fumble near the Oak Ridge sideline and ran it back 38 yards to cut the deficit in half.
On the first play of the second quarter, Kywon Morgan ran 64 yards to put the War Eagles back up by two scores. Gabe Morgan cut it back to one score when he capped a 13-play College Park drive with a 23-yard run.
College Park went with a two-back attack. In addition to playing safety, Morgan rushed for 161 yards on 26 carries. Dylan De Angelo had 125 yards on 22 carries.
“Can’t say enough about Gabe Morgan,” Madison said. “A senior, he started at safety the whole game and we needed him tonight to carry a load at tailback. He played two ways the whole night. Dylan De Angelo, a sophomore, led the team in rushing last week and did a great job again this week.”
Murdaugh’s second rushing score, a 27-yard carry full of elusiveness, made it 28-14 Oak Ridge.
College Park countered again as De Angelo capped a 10-play, time-eating Cavaliers drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
The ensuing kickoff was fumbled twice by the War Eagles. The second loose ball was recovered at the 20-yard line by College Park sophomore Tino Ruiz. The Cavs cashed in the turnover with a 32-yard field goal from Andrew Lutz.
After it ended the first half with 10 quick points, College Park received the kick to begin the second half. A solid return and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Cavs great field position at the Oak Ridge 38-yard line. Gabe Morgan capped an 8-play drive with a 1-yard run to give College Park its first lead at 31-28.
“With what we do on offense, we’re running the football and trying to play some smashmouth football” Madison said of the 17-point momentum-shifting swing that began in the second quarter and carried over into the third quarter. “We didn’t want to go into panic mode. We let the kids keep making plays and they did.”
Oak Ridge was stopped on fourth down on its next two possessions. Both times, College Park answered with drives that ended with 1-yard sneaks by Hank Hudson.
The latter score, with 4:24 to play, was the last touchdown of the evening.
“I credit the offensive line, the fullbacks, the tailbacks, everybody,” Madison said. “Our quarterbacks lead up and they block. It took all 11 guys and they did a great job.”
College Park has its bye next week, then plays Klein Oak at Klein Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. Oak Ridge hosts Klein Oak at Woodforest Bank Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m.
“I told the kids it was little things — ball security, wrapping up on tackles and things like that,” Schmid said. “The good thing is those are all things we are capable of fixing. So that’s what we have to do as we head into next week. We’ve got a short week and play Klein Oak on a Thursday so we’ve got to bounce back in a hurry. I think we will.”