Oxford football, it is more than just a game

OXFORD – It was never a competitive game for teh Oxford Blackhawks who hosted Dryden's football team this past Friday – in Oxford's 2017 homecoming loss at 42-6.

"It was very special. We had a volunteer last night, one of our coaches had to go away for business, so I asked a youth coach (John Dunkel) who I happened to one of the guys I played with in high school. While coach Beckwith was inside with our lineman, coach Smith, coach Dunkel and I got to lead the team out through our community tailgate. It was special to me because I grew up with those two guys, we have been through a lot with them, we played together and we were captains together, and now we got to lead the Blackhawk football team through our community. It is something I am going to remember for the rest of my life, it was great," said Oxford head coach Jon Carey. "We're a very close community. To have the guys who were there when I was six years old, be there now when we're like 37, it was very important, it was very special. Regardless of the score, we knew what they were going to do. I gotta give Dryden credit, they came out and played more aggressive. Their team was more aggressive than we were. They like to run outside and they were able to make those holes and drive our guys back in. Unfortunately, they scored on those plays. But our guys did not give up, they kept going. We just could not stop those outside runs."

Oxford smashed their way to a decent day on the ground, with Jake Smith leading the charge with 13 carries for 58 yards. However, despite the historical ground-and-pound attack of the Oxford Blackhawks, it was the passing attck that saw an uptick in the homecoming loss.

"From our first to our second game, we improved as a team. From our second to our third game we had some individuals improve. Quarterback, Darren Law, threw more than he has all year. Although he had an interception, the center and quarterback exchange between Brad Beckwith and Darren it was clean, we corrected some things. Darren had a heck of a game, he was hitting guys on quick drops," said coach Carey. "Just our receivers weren't able to find the ball and catch it. Darren improved a great deal, and quite honestly, we're excited because we can add a whole new dimension to our offense now. We are a run first team, but we knew Dryden was going to try to stop Mickerson (Clune) and Paul (Baker). We tried going up the middle and they stopped us, so then we let Darren threw it a bit. He was comfortable, minus one mistake in the interception, he has improved as a QB a great deal."

Darren Law finished the game with a season-high 15 passes, despite only completing three passes for 20 yards and an interception.

Down by a large margin at 30-0 at the half – coach Carey explained how the big picture is what the struggling Blackhawks are focused on.

"I tell the guys, if we're improving each week, then I am happy. I want to win, I really want to win, but if we keep improving, how can you not be happy about that? We are not playing just for Oxford football, we are playing for Oxford. A big push in the district this year is about us being a community. My team went down to go watch the Oxford varsity girls soccer team play Greene the other night, for the first time," said coach Carey. "The atmosphere in the school on Friday before the game was unbelievable. There were male athletes, female athletes, kids who don't play sports whatsover, and that is what we have to have. We are a football team first and we are trying to wins games, but it is bigger than that right now in the community of Oxford. That is what we want to keep pushing. We are going to try to win games, but we want to try to keep creating more pride in Oxford across the board. We have already done it and we are going to continue to do it."

Oxford avoided the embarrassment of a shutout by stringing together one final drive late in the game – as they were already down 42-0.

"We have been working with our tailbacks all week with our tosses. Our guys like to look for the lanes inside, so if they think they see a lane then they will cut back inside. That is fine with inside runs, but this week we worked on if we're doing a toss to just keep going, keep going outside," said coach Carey. Jake Smith, a sophomore, very fast kid and great athlete, that last drive he went outside every single time and just kept going, he got great yardage. He gained speed, he gained confidence and from there we went back up the middle and Darren Law went up the middle for the score. As a coach, what makes me proud is that things we need to focus on in practice, the basic fundamentals, and what we do in practice is executed in the game. It shows they're receptive to our teaching and we're doing something right."

Law scored the final score up the middle on a four-yard quarterback keeper, as Oxford avoiding the shutout but lost 42-6.

"No one is giving up, I know our record is 0-3 but we are doing something special right now and the guys on that field are a big part of it. They know the responsibility that they have for the community of Oxford and for the future generations, they're doing everything they can to set stuff up not only for themselves, but for the future," said coach Carey.

Oxford football (0-3 overall), will enjoy a week off from live competition – taking their Seton Catholic induced bye week in week four. In week five of the regular season, Oxford will have a tough matchup, when they host NYS third-seeded Sidney on Friday, September 29, at 7 p.m.

"We will be fine, it might not be next week or the week after, but we're looking up," said coach Carey. "We have some new things in the works, we are going to go out there, ready to go."

D: 8 22 6 6– 42

O: 0 0 0 6– 6

Rushing: Dryden – Garet Marsh 14-137, Landon Wright 17-127, Wes Stahlman 3-79, Joe Mack 1-3, Isaac Powers 2-1. Oxford – Mickerson Clune 5-12, Paul Baker 12-23, Jake Smith 13-58, Darren Law 4-12, Dakota Friedel 4-15.

Passing: Dryden – Joe Mack 0-2. Oxford – Darren Law 3-15, 20 yards, int.

Receiving: Dryden – none. Oxford – Isaiah Peterson 2-15, Jake Smith 1-5.

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