SHENANDOAH — The Klein Oak Panthers have their sights set on the first district title for the program since 2011. On Thursday night, they took another step towards that goal with their fifth straight win.
The Panthers came to Woodforest Bank Stadium and beat Oak Ridge 34-14 in District 15-6A action.
Klein Oak (7-1, 5-1), ranked No. 8 in the Class 6A Houston-area media poll, came into the week tied for first with Klein Collins, a team it beat two weeks ago.
It had been a harsh 24 hours for Klein Oak students after a serious automobile accident involving one of their classmates happened near campus after school Wednesday afternoon.
“We had a tough week,” Klein Oak coach Jason Glenn said. “We knew we had some adversity coming into this game, and the kids stepped up to it. This win right here is not just for the football players. It’s not just for the coaches. This is a community win.”
Oak Ridge (2-5, 1-4) dropped to eighth place in the standings after its second straight loss.
“Klein Oak is a good football team,” Oak Ridge coach Mark Schmid said. “They’re at the top of the district. We knew that we were going to see an outstanding football team tonight. I thought our kids played hard and gave a heck of an effort.”
The Panthers scored three first-half touchdowns, including their first two drives.
Elyjaiah Durden caught a 23-yard pass over the middle from quarterback Montrell Bolton as the 10:12 mark.
After an Oak Ridge punt, it took the Panthers just four plays to produce another score. This time, Bolton hooked up with Cameron Williams over the top from 70 yards out for a 13-0 lead.
Oak Ridge got on the scoreboard on its second possession of the second quarter. Senior running back Kywon Morgan punched in a 1-yard score at the 7:22 mark.
After an exchange of punts, Klein Oak scored again to take the eventual 20-7 lead into halftime. Jamal Stephens capped a brief two-play drive with a 9-yard score at the 4:43 mark.
“Outside of a couple big plays in the first half, I thought our defense did an outstanding job tonight,” Schmid said.
Oak Ridge allowed just a special teams touchdown and a late score with less than a minute to play.
Dwight McGlothern scored for Klein Oak on a punt return with 4:59 left in the third quarter to go up three scores.
The four-star recruit (247Sports) with multiple Division I offers was something Oak Ridge game planned for.
“(McGlothern) is a special player, and we tried to keep the ball away from him all night in terms of the punting game,” Schmid said. “He got one and took it to the house, and that kind blew the game open at that point. We felt like we were in striking distance.”
Alton McCaskill responded soon after. The junior running back for the War Eagles sprinted 66 yards down the field for a touchdown at the 4:09 mark to pull back to a 13-point deficit.
The 27-14 score stood until just 27 seconds left in the game when Bolton threw his third touchdown of the night — a 13-yarder to John Diggins.
Bolton was 10-for-21 for 184 yards.
“He’s amazing,” Glenn said of Bolton. “He’s one of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen. By air or ground, he just scores touchdowns. Today, he did it by air, and we are happy about it.”
Williams finished with 112 yards receiving, and Stephens had a team-best 55 yards rushing.
Oak Ridge rushed for 276 yards as a team. McCaskill totaled a game-high 153 yards. Townsend had 51, Adrian Murdaugh had 38, and Morgan had 21.
“Our running game has gotten better week by week by week,” Schmid said. “A part of that is we got Adrain Murdaugh back after he broke his hand. He was not able to play, and we got him back against College Park. He was doing some of the great things he can do.”
Klein Oak is 6-0 all-time against the War Eagles, including a 35-20 decision last year. Oak Ridge lost 45-28 last week to College Park after the Cavaliers scored 31 unanswered points to conclude the game.
“We’ve got to win the next three games if we want to have a chance at the playoffs,” Schmid said. “That’s kind of our message going to work tomorrow.”
Oak Ridge travels to play Klein Cain next Thursday at Klein Memorial Stadium. Klein Oak hosts College Park next Saturday.