Knights lose on last play (again!)

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 10/12/22

OAKLEAF – In a two-week span of incredible bad luck where the Oakleaf High football team scored nearly 70 points and amassed nearly 1000 yards of offense, the Knights, for a second week in a row, …

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Knights lose on last play (again!)


OAKLEAF – In a two-week span of incredible bad luck where the Oakleaf High football team scored nearly 70 points and amassed nearly 1000 yards of offense, the Knights, for a second week in a row, lost in amazing fashion in a 49-48 loss to district rival Creekside High on Thursday at Oakleaf.

“Think about what we have put on the board and that we are 10 points away from being 6-0,” said Oakleaf coach Marcus Miller, after the Creekside Knights, (5-1) answered point for point to an incredible Wild West shootout of sorts between two of the gunsling-est quarterbacks in the area; Oakleaf’s Drew Ammon and Creekside’s Wilson Edwards. “Both games (Chiles, 27-23, loss on fourth and one denial) we put points on the board, played incredible defense, but shot ourselves in the foot time and time again.”

Oh, yeah, the shot-ourselves-in-the-foot probably meant to address the penalty flags amassed by Oakleaf; two for long rush scores from running back Devin Outlaw, one for a run to the four yard line.

“We did a lot of really good things last night, but, we also did a lot of bad things,” said Miller, now 3-3, losses in fourth quarter fashion to Baker County, Chiles and, now, Creekside. “Way too many penalties and we will get that fixed. I promise. In our very tough district, you are not going to win by a ton of points against any of the teams. It will come down to those what I call championship moments in tight ball games.”

In the comparison of both quarterbacks, Miller commented that a game where both guys are just slinging away and surviving is what people will remember.

“It’s not like we gave up a 49-0 game, both guys were competing at the highest level and making miracle plays when they needed to,” said Miller. “The reality is is that might be one of the best football games you may ever see. If you respect the game of football, and I shared this with kids I saw today in the school, this was the type of game that is just an honor to be a part of.”

Oakleaf got the ball on the first kickoff and, from midfield, Ammon bootlegged right looking to pass downfield, but found green grass and rumbled to the Creekside 15 before, three downs later on fourth down on the goal line (sound familiar?). The first penalty flag of numerous pushed Oakleaf back five before Ammon hit H-back Isaiah Shevchook for a pseudo-jump pass over the middle from four yards out to get Oakleaf on the board quickly; 8:08.

At 1:42 left in the first, Creekside, with quick outside passes moving the ball downfield quickly from a start at their own 39 after an Ammon punt, tailback Nick Williams walked in to score the game 7-7.

On the ensuing drive which ended the first quarter at the Oakleaf 32, Oakleaf Devin Outlaw punished the interior of the Creekside defense before bouncing outside to paydirt only to have a second penalty flag negate the score.

Back at the Oakleaf 39, Ammon found wide receiver Javon Gibbons on a 10 yard sideline out pass that Gibbons escaped a tackle and sprinted 55 yards to paydirt to put Oakleaf up 14-7 at 10:25 to halftime.

Creekside opened on the 27 with a reverse that got yardage with Creekside getting hit with a hold penalty to put a first and 30 situation on the field.

An eight yard pass dented the gap to the 25 before Edwards miraculously recovered from a dropped center snap and near sack to a Hail Mary-ish toss to wide out Ashton Reynolds at the Oakleaf 30. Surprise, a penalty flag returned Creekside to their own 25 with third down at the 50. Flag again to the 20; third and 30 now.

Edwards again avoided disaster to hit wideout Eros Taufer at the Oakleaf 45 yard line for a Creekside first down.

“Both Drew and their guy were showing off survival skills to make plays,” said Miller. “Just to watch them compete was fun; kind of like backyard ball out there.”

Edwards sliced a post pass to Reynolds that put Creekside at the Oakleaf eight yard line with Creekside running fullback Daniel Approbato up the middle for the score at 8:24 for a 14-14 score.

Two flags kept Oakleaf inside their own 20 on the ensuing drive before a midfield pass attempt to Carlos Witherup got intercepted by Creekside safety Jaylen Boyer who went high to snag before returning the pick to the Oakleaf one yard line. A flag at midfield put Creekside at the Creekside 42.

A 14 yard slant got a first down before Edwards ran into Williams in the backfield and dropped the ball causing a ruckus before Oakleaf safety Drake Stubbs rocked Edwards on a scramble at the Oakleaf 30 with 5:49 to the half.

A sideline warning flag; coach running into referee, put Creekside at the Oakleaf 11 yard line.

A stuff by defensive tackle Prince Savea and linebacker Vlad Rosa dropped Creekside to a third and 20 from the Oakleaf 22 with 4:06 to go.

“Vlad was in his first game this year after he injured his wrist before the season,” said Miller. “He made a big difference tonight.”

Edwards hit his receiver Brendon McMillon in the face with an end zone pass that bounced away to put Creekside at fourth down. Creekside settled for a field goal to go up 17-14.

On the ensuing kickoff, Taylor Bradshaw caught the ball at the six and got to the Oakleaf 40 to start a final drive before the half.

Outlaw blasted twice for 10 yards to put Oakleaf on first down at the Creekside 40. Ammon wiggled away to the Creekside 14 yard line with 3:10 left in the half. Outlaw to the three behind center Krishawn Sanders for a first down.

Jaylin Martin snagged a touchdown pass from Ammon to put Oakleaf up 21-17 with two minutes to the half.

With a new quarterback, Sean Ashenfelder, Creekside moved quickly to the Creekside 36 before defensive end Jaden Atteo sacked Ashenfelder.

“Jaden is small, but very mobile and just a smart football player,” said Miller. “Our defensive front is very good; Prince, Jaden and Braden Cole.”

Atteo’s sack forced a punt to give Ammon one more shot before the half from about midfield with 57 seconds to go.

A pass to Witherup put Oakleaf at the Creekside 31 with an offsides flag pushing Oakleaf five yards closer.

With 20 seconds, Ammon misfired to Bradshaw with another offsides getting first down at the 21.

Outlaw finished the drive with a screen into the end zone, but a pesky penalty flag; holding, negated a second Outlaw effort.

Ammon set up for a 37 yard field goal only to have the ball carom off the top of the goal post.

“That would have been a big momentum shift for us, but he hit the top of the post,” said Miller.

Out of the lockers, Creekside again moved quickly to a third and eight at the Oakleaf 18 before Atteo and Savea stuffed the line of scrimmage to force a field goal from 35 yards out. The field goal sailed to score the game 21-20.

From the Creekside 28, Outlaw bounced again to the Creekside two yard line off right tackle Tony Gray to put the Knights in scoring position in the third quarter. Outlaw plunged to the score for a 28-20 Oakleaf gap at 3:42.

Creekside started at their own 42 with Edwards back in at quarterback with Cole and Atteo reintroducing themselves to him in the backfield.

Edwards punched a pass for 25 yards to wide out Hampton Riedl who dragged his toes inbounds at the 47. McMillan snared a deflected pass attempt to put Creekside at the Oakleaf 39 with Stubbs breaking up a slant pass attempt.

Oakleaf got their first turnover with defensive back Bryson Keitt intercepting Edwards’ next pass at 1:57 to put Oakleaf at their own 20 with a flag to the 10.

Ammon hit Bradshaw on a post pattern to near midfield with Bradshaw being stripped of the ball, then getting flagged for unsportsmanship after the play to put the Oakleaf defense on the field at the Oakleaf 15 yard line with 15 seconds in the third quarter. Creekside traded the Oakleaf flag for an illegal formation to create a first and 15 with two flags on the next play making life difficult to follow. A facemask against Oakleaf put Creekside at the Oakleaf 10 yard line to start the fourth quarter.

At the Oakleaf 10, Creekside sent Williams to the two to meet Isaiah Shevchook then another time to meet 275 pound nosetackle Amare Thomas before a final intro to JJ Marsh Mensie as the Oakleaf defense thwarted the three scoring attempts on the ground.

On fourth down, Williams was buried at the bottom of a scrum that took a few minutes to unravel to determine the Creekside score. Creekside was good on a two-point passing conversion to go to 28-28 with 10:17 to go.

Ammon returned fire quickly with Witherup breaking a tackle at the 40 and sprinting to paydirt to put Oakleaf up 35-28 at 7:31.

More flag day celebrations on the ensuing kickoff as Creekside eventually ended up starting at their own 41 yard line before a targeting flag on a quarterback scamper by Edwards on Stubbs and unsportsmanlike flag on Nasir Bailey put Creekside within the shadow of the goal post at the Oakleaf six yard line.

Williams blasted in for the score at 5:19 to go to 35-35.

Creekside went for an onsides kick that returner Isaiah Walker covered at the Creekside 48.

On a third and 10, Ammon escaped on a quarterback draw with a nifty sideline bounce and rolled to the end zone to put Oakleaf up 42-35 at 4:26.

“You can never count him out of any game,” said Miller. “He’s a gamer and he has deceptive agility.”

Ooops! Blooper kickoff by Ammon gets caught and returned for a score to tie the game against at 42-42 just 15 seconds later.

“Geez,” said Miller.

Miller continued to bash the Creekside line with Outlaw; this time following Shevchook, as Oakleaf mashed to the Creekside 23 yard line at 3:02.

Outlaw got a huge hole behind Sanders again to blast the final 23 yards to paydirt (with no flags on the ground) to put Oakleaf up 48-42. Ammon’s PAT kick was blocked by a very offsides outside blocker.

“Offensive line coach Jake Scott challenged the guys up front to open holes and they did,” said Miller. “Creekside’s No. 7 linebacker Nathan Hernandez was very good at filling holes 5-10 yards off the line of scrimmage, but we just kept sending Devin figuring he would break one. Heck, he broke two, but flags killed them.”

Now with a final Creekside drive starting at the 20 challenging the Oakleaf defense to hold the slim lead with 2:26 left in the game, Savea nearly caught Edwards to force an illegal pass on first down. Edwards went short on a post in front of Bradshaw (2:06), then was hurried by Cole incomplete, but finished at the Oakleaf four yard line with 16 seconds before Edwards hit Reynolds in the back of the end zone to tie the game, 48-48, with eight seconds.

Miller called time out to ice Creekside kicker Ronald Daragjati, but to no avail as Daragjati, who was perfect on all PAT kicks and a field goal, won the game 49-48.


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