Excruciating: Knights lose on one yard line

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 9/28/22

TALLAHASSEE - As they say in football vernacular, Oakleaf High senior quarterback Drew Ammon, who summoned his inner Houdini, was slinging the rock Friday night in Tallahassee with the Knights …

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Excruciating: Knights lose on one yard line

Posted

TALLAHASSEE - As they say in football vernacular, Oakleaf High senior quarterback Drew Ammon, who summoned his inner Houdini, was slinging the rock Friday night in Tallahassee with the Knights battling to a 23-20 fourth quarter lead against Tallahassee Chiles only to fail to convert on a fourth and one at the goal line to lose 27-23 in a possible sneak preview of a potential region playoff clash in November.

“We had nearly 450 yards of offense with Drew throwing for 400 and Taylor getting a dozen catches for 200 plus yards,” said Oakleaf coach Marcus Miller. “If college coaches want to see Drew looking like the college quarterback he can be, check out his fourth quarter film from this game.”

With Oakleaf riding high with an explosive upset win over district and county rival Fleming Island last Friday, the matchup with Chiles was destined to be a gut check as Chiles’ 0-4 record belied a strong defensive front and equally powerful offensive line that pushed for Tallahassee player of year winner Tre Jones at running back.

Though Jones only ran in two series against Oakleaf, it was his wingman, Jaylin Jones, a sophomore, who blitzed the Knights for two long scoring runs on the night.

On the first series of the night, Tre Jones bounded for 26 yards to the Oakleaf 12 to set up Jaylin Jones’ two yard scoring plunge before Tre Jones hit the benches.

On Oakleaf’s ensuing series, Ammon twice hit wide receiver Taylor Bradshaw for key pass plays; one a 12 yarder, one a fourth and 10 12 yarder to the Chiles 46, but Ammon got stung with a sideline interception on a fourth and two shot.

“We knew they would be spying Devin Outlaw from the backfield and wanted to stretch the defense with passes,” said Miller. “Drew passed to nearly all of our pass catchers with Taylor coming up big anytime the ball was near him. He had one, then lost his footing that could have been a bigger play.”

Chiles would answer with their own quarterback shenanigans with two bootleg passes to tight end Jimmy Mabry that netted 15 and 11 to the Oakleaf 35 before quarterback Trent Hartung hit wide out Ryan Summer in the end one off a third bootleg to put Chiles up 13-0.

Ammon kept mixing up his passing game with Bradshaw for 26, a QB kepp for 22 to the Chiles 32, a 16 yard slant to Jamaal Gibbons got to the Chiles 16 before a high snap doomed the drive to an Ammon field goal, 13-3.

On their series, Oakleaf defensive back Drake Stubbs returned the favor with his own sideline interception at the Chiles 41 that Ammon to Bradshaw got to the four yard line from a 30 yard pass to the Chiles 15 that Bradshaw battled on the ground to the four. A dump pass to Isaiah Shevchook scored the game 13-10 with 32 seconds left in the half.

Chiles kicker Bobby Engstler was just short with a 52 yard field goal attempt to end the half.

In the third, with defensive tackle Prince Savea stuffing Jones on his first carry, Jones retaliated with a 38 yard burst through the middle of the Oakleaf line to paydirt and a 20-10 lead.

Ammon again played gunslinger on a fourth down at the Chiles 20 hitting Jaylin Martin on a fourth anf five that led to Ammon whisking in after a fake to Devin Outlaw to put the game at 20-16. The PAT was blocked.

Now in the fourth, Oakleaf’s defense held with Savea clogging the lane for Jones before Ammon and Bradshaw connected twice for eight yards each before Ammon summoned his inner Houdini to escape a sack and hit Bradshaw 43 yards downfield in the end zone to put Oakleaf up 23-20 with 9:21 to go.

Again, Jones blasted the center of the Oakleaf defense that powered for a 46 yard score to put Chiles back on top 27-23 with 6:45 left on the clock for Ammon.

Ammon masterfully slung passes left and right; nine yard slant to Gibbons, 15 yarder to Carlos Witherup to midfield and a quick hitter to Witherup to the Chiles 32. Gibbons dropped a sideline pass, but Ammon made up the first down with a fourth and one jaunt before hitting Gibbons at the 17. A slow slant to Martin got to the Chiles seven with Ammon heaving one out of the end zone then escaping to the sideline on third down to save clock time.

Outlaw would churn up the middle to the one to put Oakleaf at fourth and one for the walkoff win, but Outlaw got stuffed at the line.

“In hindsight, Drew was hot and they were crowding Devin all night,” said Miller. “A pass is alway risky that close because you only have 10 yards to work with in the end zone with 11 defenders crowding the space.”

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