For the ninth consecutive time The Oakland Patriots and Maryville Rebels were set to meet in the TSSAA Playoffs. After splitting the last eight matchups four to four this game had a little extra on the line as well as a trip to the state championship game.
As the ball was kicked, you could feel the energy in the air. Oakland fed off that energy from its home crowd and Jeremiah Colins ran the opening kick of the State semifinal back for a touchdown. You can watch this play below.
This game was going to be all about taking blows and punching back. Maryville had to respond in hostile territory. On their first drive of the game, The Rebels would establish the run game, eventually leading to a touchdown from running back Gage LaDue. It was Oakland’s turn to respond, and hold serve. After a long drive, penalties killed The Patriots and they would have to settle for a long field goal that Jacob Taylor knocked through, making it 10-7 Patriots, and that’s how the score would stay for the rest of the first quarter.
In Oakland’s first possession of the second quarter, they wasted no time getting on the board, as Eric Taylor exploded for an 82-yard touchdown run making the score 17-7. Once again, The Rebels would have to respond. They could not afford to let the game flow get out of hand on the road. Maryville mounted a long drive with a great mix of run and pass that kept the defense guessing, but eventually The Patriot defense held strong, forcing Maryville to try a field goal of their own. The ball was snapped and The Patriots knifed through the line and blocked the kick. The score would remain 17-7 Oakland. With seven minutes to go in the first half of the 6A State Semifinal game, Oakland had a chance to make it 24-7 and go up by three scores early. It was at this moment that everyone had a touch of déjà vu as Eric Taylor went streaking down the sideline for a 62-yard Patriots touchdown. The Rebels were not out of the game with two and a half quarters remining, but points on their next drive felt imperative. After stringing together some first downs, Maryville Quarterback, Matthew Clemmer went for the home run ball down the sideline. A high arching beautiful spiral that was played perfectly by Oakland Corner, Q Lisenbee, who intercepted the pass. On the very next play Oakland fans thought there was a glitch in the matrix as Tamari Hill was shot out of a cannon for a 78-yard touchdown run, making it 31-7 Patriots. Once again The Rebels needed points and with little time remaining in the half, they started to move the ball after a long run, but once they turned to the air the Rebel Receivers found no room against the tenacious Oakland secondary. With one second on the clock, Maryville was going to have one shot at points before the half. With the Oakland pass rush barreling down on him, Clemmer had to throw the ball away and that was the end of the half as Oakland led 31-7.
Maryville came out of the locker room ready to receive the second half kickoff needing points like they need air. Oakland was looking to set the tone early like they did in the first half. Something had to give and as Oakland stopped Maryville on fourth down the second half was already in full swing. Oakland marched the rest of the way down the field and capped off the drive with Tamari Hill’s second rushing touchdown of the night, making it 38-7 Patriots. Oakland would force a punt and after a three and out would have to punt themselves from their own endzone. The punt was blocked out the back of the endzone for a safety and Maryville was on the board in the second half 38-9. Maryville received the free kick after the safety and the third quarter would expire as The Rebels began to drive down the field. We would enter the fourth quarter with Oakland leading 38-9.
Maryville scored on their next possession with a nice pass from Clemmons to Johnson, but the two point try was no good as Eric Taylor delivered a crushing tackle in the backfield. The score was now 38-15 Patriots with around nine minutes to go. Oakland ran the clock out to around five minutes to go but then was forced to punt. Maryville would try to get one more score before the end of the game, but a fumble recovered by Oakland would put those hopes and the game to bed.
The final score with Oakland advancing to the state championship game, Oakland 38 Maryville 15.
Our MVP for the game is Oakland Runningback Eric Taylor. You can hear what he had to say after the game below.