Oxford 35, Harpursville 13
OXFORD – With the ground game contained by Harpursville, Oxford went to the air with great success.
Down by a pair of scores, Oxford scored 35 unanswered points to even its record at 3-3, and also keep its Section IV Class D playoff hopes alive. Junior quarterback Jody Smith threw four TD passes to junior wideout Andrew Golden. Smith threw for 234 yards, and Golden hauled in nine passes for 228 of those yards.
“We came out a little flat at the start, and lot of the credit goes to Harpursville for stopping our run game,” said Oxford coach Ray Dayton. “I’ve said all year that we could throw the ball, and I guess we proved that.”
Harpursville’s Mason Dean scored on a 27-yard run in the first quarter, and Dean’s 79-yard TD pass to Luke Johnson upped the lead to 13 early in the second quarter.
The Blackhawks bounced back with a Smith to Golden 20-yard scoring toss. On the ensuing kickoff, Golden lined his boot off a Harpursville player. The loose ball was recovered by Oxford, who proceeded toward a second score. Golden hauled in a 26-yard TD reception, and Golden tacked on the extra point to tie the game at 13-13 at halftime.
“One thing John Curtis (former Oxford coach) used to talk about was to just give your guy a chance to catch the ball,” Dayton said. “Sometimes, that is just throwing the ball up there and letting your receiver make a play. Harpursville was selling out to stop our run and playing the outside (receivers) one-on-one. We think we can win those battles, and we did.”
Oxford poured on the offense with two more scores in the third – a 29-yard TD reception by Golden, and Paul Wonka’s three-yard TD run.
Wonka finished with 100 yards rushing on 29 carries, and it was clear the attention paid toward him allowed Smith and Golden to flourish. Golden’s 57-yard TD reception in the fourth capped the scoring.
“Down 13 points, the kids really stepped up,” Dayton said. “They kept fighting and believed things would turn our way.”
Oxford hosts Deposit-Hancock on Friday.
Score by quarters
Harp. 7 6 0 0–13
Oxf. 0 13 16 6–35
H: Mason Dean 27 run (B. Van Etten kick)
H: Luke Johnson 79 pass from Dean (kick failed)
O: Jody Smith 20 pass to Andrew Golden (run failed)