MARYVILLE — Oakland's trek to east Tennessee for its sixth consecutive Class 6A semifinal matchup with the Maryville Rebels didn't go as the Patriots hoped as they suffered a 12-0 setback.
“Like most games between us it was a one-possession ball game for a majority of the game,” Oakland coach Kevin Creasy said. “Our offense hurt us tonight. Credit goes to Maryville’s defense for bringing out the worst in us.”
Tennessee-commit Tee Hodge make his presence known after being absent from Oakland’s 38-0 crushing in 2018. Hodge rushed for 160 yards, 100 second-half yards and the game’s lone touchdown in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.
“Our offense was not moving the ball which kept the defense on the field,” Creasy said. “It is tough to stop the run when you on the field for a majority of the game.”
Maryville kicked a 37-yard field with five minutes remaining in the first half. A penalty on the ensuing kickoff put Oakland in the shadow of its own goal line. The Rebels forced an Oakland safety two plays later to take a 5-0 lead into halftime.
Oakland’s offense gained a modest 114 yards for the game but saw most of their success come on their first drive of the second half. The Patriots marched to the Rebel 8 where the drive then stalled after a failed fourth-and-seven passing attempt.
“We had to put the ball in a playmakers hands,” Creasy said of the wildcat success with junior Victor Stephenson at quarterback. “When we got inside the red zone we just thought we would go up 6-5 or 8-5 but we got behind the sticks on that possession and it hurt us.”
All looked done until Maryville failed on its own fourth-and-two inside the Oakland 15, setting the Patriots with 89 yards to go and five minutes to play. It was all for naught as Oakland threw an interception on the first play of the drive at its own 31. Hodge carried a majority of the final drive before putting the nail in the coffin at 2:12 of the fourth.
“I am sorry it had to end this way for my seniors,” Creasy said of a group that recorded 54 wins and just four losses over four years. “Some of them played key roles in our championship (in 2018). We are very proud of them for their effort all year.”